One of Britain’s oldest home shopping companies has gone into administration.
Kleeneze, best known for selling household and beauty products through its network of door-to-door sellers, said it had ceased trading on Thursday and 140 jobs are at risk.
But there is also a question mark over the future of 5,000 independent distributors who sell the products.
Administrators FRP Advisory is seeking a buyer in a last ditch attempt to save the 95-year old firm.
Joint administrator David Acland said: “Kleeneze has performed well over the years and has a strong network of independent sales distributors.
“Unfortunately, tough trading conditions have resulted in the business entering administration.
“The business suffered from operational issues after its move to the Heywood distribution site earlier in 2017.
“There were logistics challenges and IT issues that took six months to resolve, which resulted in significant lost sales,” Mr Acland said.
Kleeneze’s self-employed distributors deliver catalogues throughout in the UK and Ireland, earning cash or rewards for every sale they make – either at the doorstep or through their own online shop.
These sellers are a mixture of self-employed sole traders and partnerships, and many work for Kleeneze alongside other jobs.
The company employs 69 permanent staff at its head office in Accrington, Lancashire, and a further 71 at its warehouse in Heywood, Greater Manchester.
Usdaw, the trade union for Kleeneze staff, said it was seeking urgent meetings with the administrators in a bid to protect jobs.
Annette Bott, an Usdaw area organiser, said: “This is clearly a difficult and upsetting time for the 140 staff based in Accrington and Heywood.
“We are pressing the administrators to find a buyer for the company who will protect jobs and keep the business going. In the meantime, we are providing our members with the support, advice and representation they need.”