Shit a chicken brick - Habitat’s for sale again
Final humiliation for the once-chic brand - products will now be sold at Argos
Habitat, the homeware chain started by Terence Conran in 1964, is set to close 30 of its UK branches and sell its three London flagship stores - in Tottenham Court Road, the Kings Road and the Finchley Road O2 Centre - to Home Retail Group, owners of Argos and Homebase.
It looks like the final humiliation for the brand that once stood for affordable chic among young couples setting up their first homes.
In the late 1960s and 70s, there were barely a hessian-walled London apartment that didn't host a set of green-tinged wine glasses or a purple plastic mixing bowl turned out by Conran and his design team. Not everything was this practical: Habitat's terracotta chicken brick vied with the fondu set for the title of 'least used wedding present' of the era.
The brand's fortunes have been sinking for some time. Conran, now better known as a restaurateur, finally lost control of Habitat in 1990 and the group has changed hands several times.
It has recently been owned by the turnaround specialists Hilco who hope to get between £20m - £30m for the sale to Home Retail Group of the three London stores and of the brand itself.
Habitat-branded products will now be sold through the relatively grubby branches of Argos and Homebase - the thought of which must be giving Sir Terence palpitations (he has declined to comment on the news).
What will happen to the other 30 branches is not certain. They might be sold to rival retailers or, according to the Financial Times, be put into administration.
Hilco intends to retain Habitat's stores in France - where the 28 branches retain their allure - in Spain (six) and in Germany (five). ·
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