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Taking full control of the G Plan brand represents a powerful opportunity for the upholstery group Sofa Brands International.


About six weeks ago, the Furnishing Report first learned of a nondescript newco set up by a Yorkshire law firm with Robert Morris as its sole director.


When that company flicked the switch on a name-change to Morris Furniture Brands, it was clear that a deal — or deals, as it turned out — were about to be concluded.


Before approaching Robert Morris or George McGraw — joint mds of the Morris Furniture group — we sought counsel from close contacts within the industry.


“This will be about G Plan,” we were told in unequivocal terms, by one of the most respected individuals in the UK furniture industry.


“G Plan is the most powerful brand in the British furniture industry,” added another.


With the G Plan name on the table, all roads led to Sofa Brands International (SBI), already owner of the G Plan Upholstery business.


It was confirmed on Friday that the group — which also runs Parker Knoll and Duresta — had completed a deal to reunify the G Plan brand under a single owner for the first time in nearly 20 years, when the G Plan Cabinets brand was licensed to Morris by the Christie-Tyler group, SBI’s predecessor.


CEO Scott Malvenan says: “We are delighted to have regained full control of the G Plan brand. We are now free to thoroughly research what our target consumers and retailers would want from a wider G Plan offer.”


Nicholas Radford told the Furnishing Report (see related) that talks regarding the sale of the three other Morris-owned brands — Relaxateeze, Zone and Morris — to his newly formed Nathan Group dated back around six months.


It would therefore be reasonable to assume the G Plan deal has also been in the pipeline for a considerable amount of time, and the source of much internal thought.


With the transaction now out in the open, Sofa Brands International is freed up to fully explore the wider implications of it taking full control of the G Plan name, even if there is little likelihood that case goods will take the place of upholstery as the core focus.


“We will be working on this to build a sustainable business model, and commercial offer that thrills our customers,” Mr Malvenan added.


Those with long memories might recall that Christie-Tyler was once active not just in upholstery, but also cabinet, acquiring the Jentique Furniture business as a distressed asset back in 2001, at the time a producer with annual sales of around £8m.


Times have changed. The industry has changed.


SBI is highly unlikely to acquire a cabinet furniture factory, and start manufacturing cabinets itself under the G Plan label.


But talking with third party manufacturing partners and suppliers? That is another story, and there is likely to be no shortage of firms keen to work with SBI. Nathan Group chairman Nicholas Radford has already said he would welcome the opportunity to discuss plans for G Plan Cabinets with SBI.


There may be quite a queue.


Related Stories
Morris Group sells all four of its furniture brands

Morris joint md George McGraw to take a break from the furniture trade
Interview: Nicholas Radford on buying the Morris brands



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