CUSTOMERS of a furniture shop in Portchester have been left worried after it suddenly shut its doors.
Homewood Interiors furniture shop has unexpectedly left its retail unit on Castle Road Trading Estate leaving people worried they will not receive their orders by Christmas.
Four lorries turned up on Thursday morning to gut the shop, after it is understood the furniture company and the landlord became embroiled in a row over rent.
Homewood Interiors have traded under that shop name for last three years.
The Homewood Interiors website is currently down, customers cannot get any answer from the phone or email address and when The News visited the shop was empty, except for a bailiff hired by the landlord.
Lorraine Burns, 49, from Hilsea, placed an order worth £1,600 six weeks ago.
The furniture was meant for her 12- year-old son’s room and also to put in her front room so the family could use it over Christmas.
She said: ‘We wanted our house to look nice for Christmas. There’s no notice at the shop, we don’t know what to do.’
Andy Kale, 46, from Cosham, placed an order of £1,500. He said: ‘We have sold all our old furniture and now we’re worried we won’t have anything delivered by Christmas. I can’t believe it.’
One supplier of the firm told The News: ‘I feel sorry for all those customers but they also owe the suppliers money too. We are a small business and whether they owe us £100, £500 or £1,000, it all has an impact.’
Tom Seymour, from nearby furniture shop Allwood Interiors Ltd, said: ‘A lot of people have been coming in here asking if we know anything.
‘I think it’s a terrible thing to happen so close to Christmas.’
Furniture has been sold from that retail unit for the past 15 years as it was previously owned by Craftsman Furniture.
Homewood Interiors took over in 2010 and the company changed hands again last year, changing to Right Price Furniture Ltd, who continued to trade under the shop name of Homewood Interiors.
The landlord called in bailiffs as negotiation over unpaid rent failed.
A spokesman from Homewood Interiors confirmed to The News that the company is involved in a legal wrangle with the landlord.
A statement from the firm’s directors added: ‘As you are aware this mater is now in the hands of our solicitors and it does make it difficult to comment. However we can tell you that there were significant stock and assets at the shop on the Castle Trading Estate which we believe should not have been removed by the landlords. As soon as an administrator is appointed we will advise all creditors in the meantime we are working to get the best outcome for them.’
Ian Power, from Cyan Power, who are managing agents for the property’s owner, said: ‘The landlord is a rational person who has made this decision with proper advice.
‘This is the first time in a considerable amount of time that we have had to take action this severe on their behalf. This was an action that was very carefully taken.’
According to Mr Power, Homewood Interiors have five days to find the money to settle the dispute and retrieve its property.