The Waltons Catering Equipment management team has detailed the circumstances that led to the family distributor’s closure, as reported yesterday by Catering Insight.
The Bradford-based dealer had traded uninterrupted for 99 years, but according to a statement provided by operations director Patrick Dooling, also on behalf of MD Clive Walton and sales director Alex Walton: “During a record year of sales, with all our 27 staff in 2019, entering into 2020 the market took a substantial downturn which continued further into February.
“To compound the issues, a number of our larger customers were behind on payments.”
Dooling explained: “The directors took measures in February to mitigate the situation by making redundancies and reducing overheads.
“Unfortunately we were given back word on a number of large projects which were pencilled in, resulting in sales staying flat.
“Since the redundancies the sales continued to plummet; even with a reduced staffing level there was not enough work for the staff that remained.”
He further reported that other measures were put in place to save the business: “We entered into discussions with a number of interested parties to purchase the company which looked very positive from the meetings we had.”
However: “Unfortunately this was when the coronavirus situation took a turn for the worse and the interested parties pulled out from discussions.
“Add this to a number of emails stating customers were not able to pay their bills, a number of customers liquidating and the old debts, it was clear that the situation was untenable.”
Dooling said: “It is with deep regret from the family members that the company was placed into liquidation resulting in the remaining staff being made redundant yesterday.
“Many of these staff have been with the company up to 27 years and this is the saddest part of it all.”
He concluded: “Coronavirus is not the cause but has most definitely been the ending of the business. There is plenty of talk from the government about support for the restaurants, pubs and theatres, but nothing to support the supply chain that works hard behind the scenes.
“We want to thank all of our loyal customers and suppliers over the last 40 years and we want everybody to stay safe in the current difficult climate.”