Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, which grew from a small North Carolina-based upholstery maker to a national retail furniture chain, is shuttering operations, citing weak sales and trouble securing financing. It’s the latest retailer hurting from sluggish sales as consumers pull back on spending.
About 500 employees in North Carolina are losing their jobs as a result of the closure, said interim CEO Chris Moye in a notice sent to the state’s Department of Commerce over the weekend. The separations are expected to happen in the two-week period that started August 26, according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, notice.
Mitchell Gold’s closure is yet another sign of consumers’ pause in discretionary spending. Sales at Home Depot and Target have dropped in their most recent quarters. Best Buy said on Tuesday that it is lowering the high-end of its forecast for fiscal year 2024 as it expects declining tech sales to hit a low this year before stabilizing.
Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams founded their business together in 1989. Over the decades, the firm evolved into a major furniture maker and seller, with its own signature retail stores and outlets, as well as virtual stores that offered design services in some regions.
Furniture stores, especially high-end retailers like Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, have been struggling as people cut back on home improvement projects and big ticket items. Ethan Allen reported this month that in the quarter ending on June 30, retail net sales fell 17.2%.
“The current economic climate has presented significant challenges to the US furniture industry,” Moye wrote in the notice, adding that the weak environment has been exacerbated by a lack of funding for the company.
“We have also recently and unexpectedly learned that the company is unable to secure critical financing to continue business operations,” he wrote. “In the wake of this unfortunate development, it has now become apparent that we can no longer continue to operate.”
The Stephens Group, a private equity firm which acquired the company in 2014, recently invested $20 million to restructure, it said in a statement to CNN Tuesday. But that wasn’t enough to save the business.
“Shortly after this restructuring, the company’s lender withdrew its support, forcing Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams to cease operations,” the Stephens Group said. “The company has done the best it could in a very challenging situation.”