A DOWNTURN in orders because of coronavirus has been blamed for the collapse of Bradford shopfitters Cardinal with the loss of 135 jobs.
The news of the redundancies after the 110-year-old firm went into administration was met with dismay from the community.
The Laisterdyke company is an interiors manufacturer mainly supplying the retail sector, with clients including major high street chains, alongside a residential property offering.
Imran Hussain MP (Lab, Bradford East) said: “The collapse of such a historic and established manufacturer like Cardinal is a very sad loss to Bradford, and I know that this will be a very difficult time for their staff, particularly over this deeply uncertain period.
“Like many businesses reliant on investment by the retail sector over this period, Cardinal appears to have faced significant financial challenges through no fault of their own, and it underlines the desperate need for a sectoral approach to support that is tailored to the challenges faced by each area of the economy as lockdown eases.
“This means support for those businesses that have been worst affected over this period and who face the biggest hurdles on the journey to recovery, which why I was so disappointed that the Chancellor set out nothing for retail in terms of rates or rent reform, and failed to ditch his one size fits all approach.”
Councillor Mohammed Shafiq (Lab, Bradford Moor) said: “It’s devastating news, very sad news.
“I’m really sorry to hear another business been lost due to the current coronavirus pandemic. My sympathies to the workers and their families.
“It’s going to have a huge impact on families and create poverty and hardship.
“The loss of these jobs will add to further hardship. I call on the government to do all they can to minimise the number of firms affected.
“My worry is that this isn’t the last. There are many small companies that are being affected.”
Cardinal moved to its base at Battye Street in 2016 buying the site for nearly £3 million and investing another £1m in new plant and equipment.
The relocation was hastened by the Boxing Day floods in 2015 which hit Cardinal’s Shipley premises, which were put up for sale.
That former Airedale Mills site on Otley Road is now the subject of a series of planning applications to redevelop it.
A discount foodstore will be operated by Lidl and a drive-thru coffee unit operated by Costa, whilst a second application is for site enabling works to facilitate a third retail unit in the future.
The design and access statement for the application says “the development will facilitate the diversification of the existing site owners’ business into new product areas which will enable the safe continuation of their business with anticipated expansion skilled manufacturing employment in the locality”.
The developers Morbaine did not respond with a comment as to whether the Cardinal administration would affect the project.
The T&A understands that the Shipley site is owned by Fern Hill Holdings Limited which shares directors with Cardinal as well as its offices in Battye Street.
In 2016, Cardinal’s boss Tim Considine said the move marked a new chapter in the company’s history, which was founded around 1910 by his great-grandfather and previously traded as Sharpe & Law shopfitters.
Howard Smith and Dave Costley-Wood from KPMG’s restructuring practice were appointed Joint Administrators of Cardinal Shopfitting and Systems Limited on Monday.
It has been unable to continue trading given a collapse in its order book, following the impact of Covid-19 and the uncertainty in the retail sector post-lockdown.
A total of 135 of the firm’s 170 staff – approximately half of who were on furlough – have been made redundant following the appointment of the administrators. The remaining 35 will assist the administrators in the short term to complete work in progress.
Howard Smith, Joint Administrator and associate partner at KPMG, said: “Cardinal is a victim of the retail sector at large conducting a strategic reassessment of the needs of its store estate following the COVID-19 lockdown. Without plans to invest in their high street presence until 2021 at the earliest, Cardinal’s client base were unable to provide the necessary certainty over future contracts to enable it to continue trading.
“We have employment specialists liaising with the workforce to support them through the redundancy process.”