More Kitchen cabinet shops
Similar UK Flatpack Furniture Shops
The most famous of all DIY retail stores is B&Q and it’s still a leader in selling home improvement goods. You can shop for everything you will need to accomplish almost every diy job in the home and the garden. Always everyday low prices.
Shop at Homebase for 1000s of hardware, building and diy products to help transform your garden and every room in the home. From paint to flooring and plumbing. Their not just a DIY store but a bespoke bedroom and kitchen supplier and fitter.
Seller of good quality DIY and home improvement products to the trade and domestic customer. Owned by a building merchant (Travis Perkins) so know their stuff. Wickes also have handy brochures full of ideas on kitchen projects and diy jobs.
MFI FLAT PACK FURNITURE
What MFI Sold
A Little About
History of Mullard Furniture Industries (MFI)
Mullard Furniture Industries (MFI) was founded in 1964 by Donald Searle and Noel Lister. Both men had traded in surplus government stock from the second world war. This is where they met at a surplus stock auction. They decided on a partnership pooling their cash in addition to their buying and selling skills and opened MFI. It initially started out as a mail order furniture company but after three years in 1967 they opened a shop in Balham south London.
This was the start of considerable growth and a revolution in affordable flat-pack furniture in the UK. MFI purchased other household furniture brands these included Schreiber a well regarded fitted kitchen and furniture maker. Hygena kitchen cabinet company was another acquisition they were market leaders in fitted kitchens.
Very successful periods followed for MFI like the 1980’s when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher allowed council tenants to buy their homes. This created great business for home improvement stores like MFI and B&Q. MFI could never get their supply chains sorted out and this did created a reputation for order errors and being unreliable with delivery times.
Competition from B and Q and Homebase who started selling flat pack kitchens and furniture more reliably made a big dent in the profit margins. This was without the Swedish juggernaut IKEA’s UK market growth selling stylish ready-to-assemble furniture and kitchens. Fluctuations in the housing market would also directly effect the companies profit line. It went through a management buyout but this did not change the fortunes of the once great flat pack furniture giant. By 2008 it was the end of the road, there was no way back and the famous furniture seller collapsed into administration.
The website and MFI brand is now owned by Victoria Plumb have said they are going to reassemble the MFI name.
What happened to the two chaps who started it all.
Noel Lister sold what shares he had left in MFI for just short of £60 million in 1985. He was a sailing enthusiast and went on to sail the world eventually settling in the Bahamas. He died January 2015 aged 87 leaving behind his wife Sylvia Scales and two children. Donald Searle who was also yachting enthusiast tragically died in a gliding accident in 1976 aged 52. In his will he left money to set up a sail training organisation which gives people the chance to sail that otherwise would never get the chance. It was decided to build a sailing yacht for the Rona Sailing Project (RSP) instead. The boat is called the Donald Searle and is the biggest boat in the RSP fleet.
Hygena are a furniture and fitted kitchen cabinet brand established in Liverpool in 1925. They were bought out by MFI in 1987 but the rights to the brand are now owned by Sainsbury’s.
It was purchased by wheeler and dealer business man Chris Dawson who owns The Range store. It was estimated to be worth £70m and the deal to buy it all from the administrators was for less than £3m, what a bargain.
There was around 1,400 job losses and 111 MFI furniture retail stores that closed when they went into administration. It is also estimated 30,000 customers had outstanding orders at the time but were promised refunds from a £30m contingency fund.
DIY stores like B&Q and Homebase who sold all the flatpack furniture for bedrooms and kitchens as well as all the other materials for diy projects plus the tools needed to complete the jobs. Not to forget Ikea who had a massive impact on the UK flatpack furniture culture in the UK.