Wellers Auctioneers Ltd, formerly based in Milton Keynes, folded last month with debts of close to £3m. Many of the creditors were unpaid vendors from the trade and retail sector including John Lewis (owed £66,118), Excess Baggage Airports Ltd (£82,524), Royal Mail (£885,474), Transport for London (£31,717) and Dixons Store Group (£381,706).
Christopher Sykes, chairman of both companies, blamed the collapse of the Milton Keynes firm on what he believed was a flawed model. “As a business model, conducting only timed auctions just didn’t work for us. The average value of consignments was too low in relation to the cost of delivery.”
However, he emphasised to ATG that Wellers Fine Art remains a going concern that continues to operate, as before, with separate accounts for vendors’ money. “Our view was that when it came to selling private estate goods, clients’ money should be ring-fenced. The commercial operation was not run in that way,” added Sykes.
Weekly sales of Unclaimed Property will now be held at the Bedford Road saleroom in Guildford on Tuesdays. Monthly specialist sales include jewellery, watches and silver.
The statement of company affairs approved by Sykes and fellow director Glen Snelgar on May 27 listed Wellers Auctioneers Ltd’s total liabilities at £3,075,924. For preferential creditors the total assets available are £155,374.
RSM Restructuring Advisory, based in Guildford, are the liquidators.