16 months after its IPO, UK online retailer Made.com prepares for administration

Made.com, a U.K.-based e-commerce company that sells furniture and related home accessories across seven European markets, is bracing for insolvency as it confirmed plans to appoint administrators after failing to find a buyer.

Founded in 2010, Made.com emerged as something of a darling in the U.K. startup sphere for the way it worked with select partners to optimize the entire furniture design and manufacturing process, while keeping its overhead down through a mostly online platform (though it has dabbled with physical outlets through the years). The company went on to raise around $137 million from some of Europe’s leading investors.

Today’s news comes a little more than a year after the London-headquartered company went public on the London Stock Exchange, a move that immediately saw its shares fall 7% on its first day of trading. Made.com priced its shares initially at 200 pence, giving it a valuation of around £775 million ($894 million), but its fortunes never quite recovered from that inaugural day in June 2021, as its stock continued to plummet in the intervening months to an all-time low of 34 pence.

Made.com’s downfall

Today’s announcement should perhaps come as little surprise. Made.com revealed back in September that it was considering job cuts and a potential sale, after suffering at the hands of the economic downturn and disruptions to its supply chain. Indeed, the company’s losses widened in the first half of this year, growing from £10.1 million in H1 2021 to £35.3 million.

While Made.com did previously report that it was in active discussions with potential buyers, things took a turn for the worse last week when the company ceased taking new orders and revealed that it wouldn’t be processing any requests for refunds or returns. With the clock ticking to find a buyer by the end of October, Made.com has now confirmed that none of the interested parties were able to “meet the necessary timetable” for closing a deal, and discussions have now been terminated.

With PricewaterhouseCoopers lined up as administrators, Made.com has also now temporarily suspended trading of its ordinary shares, though this in all likelihood will be a permanent move once the administration plans are rubberstamped.