Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,354 pages of information and 233,518 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

MFI Furniture Group

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July 1986. Hygena.

MFI was founded in 1964 as Mullard Furniture Industries by two British men, Noel Lister and Donald Searle, who previously traded in war surplus goods. The new company was named after Searle's wife's maiden name.

The company became a public company in 1971, as MFI Warehouses. An external manager, Derek Hunt, was recruited soon afterwards.

In the 1980s, MFI entered into partnerships, firstly in 1985 with Asda and then with Schreiber Furniture. The Asda connection was soon dissolved over concerns about the company's future and there was a management buy-out in October 1987.

2002 Acquired Sofa Workshop.

2006 It was reported that sales for the previous year had fallen to £742 million compared to £854 million in 2003.

In September 2006 the retail arm of the company acquired by Merchant Equity Partners for £1 after which the parent company changed its name to Galiform.

MFI Retail was the subject of a second management buyout in September 2008

On the 26 November 2008, after a board meeting MFI went into administration. The Company was unable to confirm what would happen to consumers with pending orders. On 19 December 2008 all 111 MFI stores were closed with the loss of 1,200 jobs.

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