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Supplier Citilites steps in to save rival Sidney Murray's name

London-based womenswear and kidswear manufacturer Citilites has bought the name and part of the order book belonging to its rival, Sidney Murray, which went into administration earlier this month.

The third-generation family business was founded in 1963 by Sidney Murray and supplied dresses, blouses and outerwear to high street retailers and mail order companies including JD Williams, Debenhams, Evans, Peacocks and Kaleidoscope, employing approximately 50 people.

Sidney Murray was run by Murray’s son, managing director Stewart Murray, and Stewart’s nephew, operations director Robert Murray. It made a loss of £374,333 for the year to June 30, 2013, according to the last results filed at Companies House.

The business appointed administrators Valentine & Co on November 4 following problems with cash flow and deaths in the family, including most recently the founder, who died last year.

Citilites has acquired the order book belonging to Sidney Murray, comprising approximately five customers, with the exception of the part of the business that supplies blouses to Debenhams, which was sold to Jayroma. The deal does not include Sidney Murray’s warehouse and processing unit in Tottenham Hale or showroom on Eastcastle Street, in north and central London respectively. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Citilites will bring the business into its facilities on Hornsey Road in north London, but plans to keep the Sidney Murray name and show it to clients separately. It will look for suitable showroom premises in central London at a later date.

Stuart Swead, managing director and founder of Citilites, said: “It would be a shame to let such a long-established name like Sidney Murray disappear from the scene and we were lucky that we were in a position to act quickly. The order book contains a mixture of existing and new customers for us, so the deal broadens our base and gives us more flexibility.”

Citilites currently employs 40 people in the UK and 35 at its manufacturing facilities in the Far East. It will employ Robert Murray and a team of four or five from Sidney Murray, while Jayroma will employ a sales agent and a team of three from the former company. Jayroma will not use the Sidney Murray name.

Valentine & Co declined to comment.

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