Shoppers snap up discount Gilberts furniture
BARGAIN hunters headed to an auction to snap up the remaining stock of a failed furniture company.
Scores of people turned up for the sale of 346 items of stock from retailer Gilberts. The auction was carried out on the instructions of liquidator Begbies Traynor.
Gilberts, which had been run by the Smith family since the 1960s, closed in March after bankers refused to throw a lifeline to the debt stricken firm.
It later emerged that Gilberts had left a total of 166 creditors more than £800,000 out of pocket.
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The stagnant housing market and the economic downturn were blamed for driving the company, which had a showroom on Shelton New Road in Hartshill and a warehouse at Fenton Industrial Estate, out of business.
Yesterday, lots ranging from lamps, vases and bookcases to sofas, wardrobes, tables and beds were bought by bargain hunters.
Richard Peake, partner with Festival Park-based estate agency and auctioneers BJB, who led the auction at the Crystal Business Park in Newcastle, said: "There has been a lot of interest.
"It is the first of two sales, the second will be of 267 lots.
"We were not allowed to use Gilberts for the auction, so we have brought all the lots to Newcastle."
The first item up for sale, a hardwood cabinet with a glass door, went for £45.
That was followed by a bookcase unit which sold for £50, a glazed cabinet bought for £70 and an oversized novelty wall clock picked up for £60 after a bidding war.
Lynn Seifi, aged 52, of Basford, who regularly attends auctions, said: "This auction has attracted a different type of people than I would normally see. Gilberts were a reputable firm with good quality stock.
"It has meant more competition than normal. The key is to have an idea of how much each item you bid for is worth, then set yourself a budget and don't go over that.
"People can get excited and get into a bidding war. But if you end up paying more than the item is worth, then there's no point in going to an auction."
June Woolley was attending her first auction.
The 72-year-old, of Meir, said: "I had no idea what to expect. I just came looking for a bargain."
Laina Malpass, aged 19, of Meir Heath, said: "I've seen a few things I want, in particular a lamp and a clock.
"I just came long to see what there was."
Claire Bradwell, aged 41, of Bradwell, said: "This is the first auction I have been to. Gilberts were a good company, so it's not surprising it is so popular.
"I was looking for a nest of tables and I have seen one or two I like."
The final auction of Gilberts' stock will take place at the Warner Street Sale Rooms, Hanley, on Tuesday, May 29, at 10am. Viewing is on Friday and Monday, from 10am to 3pm.