Fifty jobs saved in deal to rescue furniture firm

Sutcliffe Furniture, Cornholme.
Sutcliffe Furniture, Cornholme.

FIFTY jobs have been saved at a historic furniture company after its owner completed a deal with the administrator.

Last month, James H Sutcliffe and Son Ltd, based at Frostholme Mill in Cornholme, went into administration with the loss of 100 jobs, ending 124 years of production by the business.

But now the Radford Furniture Company, which owns Sutcliffe’s, has concluded lengthy negotiations with the administrator to rescue the business.

All parties, including funders, have agreed terms on a deal that secures 50 jobs.

This number could increase to 75 over the coming months.

Nicholas Radford, chairman of the Radford Furniture Company, said: “We have worked hard with the administrator to create a new way forward which enables the Todmorden factory to return to production immediately.

“We are completely restructuring the operation and the team to put the business on a more secure footing.

“This will result in deliveries recommencing as soon as possible and all outstanding customer orders fulfilled.

“This is the most positive outcome which could have been achieved, but obviously we are disappointed with the huge impact this has had on our staff, customers and suppliers.

“We hope that this new, slimmed down Sutcliffe operation will be in a healthier position to survive the still challenging retail environment.

“We want to thank the whole team, our customers and suppliers for their support during this difficult time and look forward to a brighter future for this heritage furniture brand.”

News of the rescue deal has been welcomed by the local business community who had previously spoken of their shock at the demise of one of Todmorden’s oldest manufacturers .

There were also fears for the knock-on effect it could have on the local economy.

Coun Janet Battye, leader of Calderdale Council, said news that the business had been saved was brilliant.

Coun Battye, who is also a Calder ward councillor, said: “It’s good for local people and the local economy.”

She is looking into what further support can be provided to employees at the firm.

“I have asked Calderdale Council’s business support officers to contact them to see what help we can give them,” she said.

Sutcliffe’s - affectionately known to generations of Todmordians as “Jim Harry’s” - moved to its Frostholme site in the early 1990s, consolidating operations on the 143,000 sq feet site.

Since the 1950s, it has become renowned for manufacturing high quality furniture for the mid and high ends of the market.

It was bought by the Radford Furniture Company, of Leyburn, North Yorkshire, last December.