Troubled times for UK PC industry

UK?s biggest PC maker goes into administration.1,500 jobs lost.Customers and creditors owed millions of pounds.
Author:
Publish date:
7_CPW_InStore_CouchLaptop.jpg

EMPLOYEES, partners and
consumers alike look like losing their
shirts following the collapse of
Granville Technology Group (GTG), the
holding company behind the Time,
Tiny and The Computer Shop brands.

In a dramatic sequence of events,
GTG failed to open its retail outlets on
Monday July 25th, telling staff to go on
paid leave until Thursday. Meanwhile,
the company continued to take orders
through its online and mail order
businesses, but by Wednesday (July
27th) the administrators had been
called in and all but 100 of the
company?s 1,500 employees had been
told they?d lost their jobs.

Bizarrely, there
were stories that security staff at the
head office were preventing employees
from leaving the building, relenting only
when the police were called.

Rumours of the collapse began a
week earlier, on July 20th, when an
organisation called the Independent
Time Employee Forum circulated an
email alleging that most of the GTG
board, including former boss Tahir
Mohsan, had resigned as directors.

It
also alleged that temporary staff were
being laid off, permanent staff had
been being paid late for two months
and stores were suddenly closing
without notice.

Two days later the GTG
head of human resources, Richard
Harris, partially refuted the claims in
an interview with ZDNet UK as ?a
malicious mix of fact and fiction,
presumably from a disgruntled
employee.?

Where this leaves the many people
owed money by GTG remains to be
seen. Its main banker, HSBC, appears
unlikely to recover the ?19 million it is
owed, as are those owed the rest of
what is reported to be ?50 million in
total debt.

It is unclear how many
people who are still awaiting delivery
of new or repaired PCs will either get
what they paid for or their money
back, but it doesn?t look good for
them either.

The timing of the collapse was such
that employees were due their salary
two days after they were made
redundant, to date most have yet to
receive anything.

Within a week two
MPs - Labour?s Kitty Usher, MP for
Burnley and Nigel Evans, Tory MP for
Ribble Valley - had called for the
Department of Trade and Industry to
investigate the Burnley-based GTG
and the circumstances behind the
collapse.

In a statement to PC Retail,
however, the DTI stressed that they
can only become involved if the
administrator?s report, due within six
months of taking over, suggests
wrong-doing.

Related