Magson goes down

Troubled toy and stationery distributor Magson has been placed into administration.
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Neil Bennett and Michael Healy of Leonard Curtis have been appointed as administrators to the business.

The firm acquired the failing Youngsters business back in April along with the chain of ToyZone stores and the remaining stock. However, it quickly closed the 20 stores.

First established in 1925, as a local wholesaler of toys, stationery and greetings cards, the business was incorporated in 1959 and, throughout the late 1980s grew from a regional to a national business, with additional distribution centres in Glasgow, Ipswich, Banbury and Hailsham and a customer base of leading independent shops, buying associations and larger multiples.

In late 2007 the business was acquired from the Magson family bu Agilo Investment which made major efforts to modernise the business. Turnover for the 10 months to October 2008 was £20.2 million.

“The current financial climate, with reduced consumer spending on the high street, combined with poor weather over this last summer badly affecting toy sales, has not helped this business,” commented Neil Bennett.

“The business has spent heavily, streamlining systems and reducing the staff levels by almost half. Unfortunately the timing has not been good - hence our appointment as a protective measure. We have had to make the majority of the employees redundant; we have retained a small number to assist in the administration. ”

Magson’s HQ, showroom and a 150,000 sq ft state of the art warehouse are in the Clifton Moor area of York where the 200 staff are based. The additional warehouses elsewhere have been disposed of and distribution was contracted out.

“This is a company that had recently undergone a substantial transformation but was still, owing to the current credit crunch, unable to find a purchaser” concluded Bennett.

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