December 11, 2023


A Home Grown Success

Home furnishings retailer Lousy Boy to file for personal bankruptcy around fiscal difficulties, money owed to sellers

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Folks wander past a Negative Boy furnishings shop, in Brampton, Ont., on Nov. 13. The company states it intends to file for individual bankruptcy in excess of debts and issues acquiring inventory amid increased inflation and fascination rates.Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press

Poor Boy, the household furniture retailer founded by former Toronto mayor Mel Lastman and acknowledged for advertisements promising “nooobody” available far better specials, is experiencing a economical disaster and designs to restructure the business.

Late previous 7 days, Pickering, Ont.-centered Negative Boy Home furniture Warehouse Ltd. submitted a see of intention to file a proposal underneath the Individual bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, writing that the firm owes money to quite a few of its vendors. As a outcome, Negative Boy “is having significant worries sourcing inventory,” which is influencing the retail business enterprise. It also posted a observe to clients warning that people today who have put deposits on furniture and appliances will not be acquiring their orders, or a refund from the corporation.

Like other suppliers, Lousy Boy has witnessed individuals pull back again on expending as they feel the pinch of inflation and high fascination rates. The “tight retail climate” has specially influenced the property-furnishing sector, the organization wrote in the discover to clients, contacting the restructuring a “very tough final decision.”

Poor Boy is wholly owned by a firm controlled by Mr. Lastman’s son, Blayne Lastman, who revived the business in the early 1990s. It now has 12 shops in Ontario, as well as a company advertising appliances to genuine estate builders and home managers. Negative Boy has approximately 275 staff.

“The Firm is taking into consideration a liquidation sale in selected or all of its suppliers so that it can wind-down the inefficient parts of its small business in an orderly fashion,” a submitting with the Ontario Exceptional Court of Justice mentioned.

As of Nov. 4, Poor Boy owed around $13.8-million to its unsecured creditors, which includes main appliance brands this kind of as Whirlpool, Samsung, Electrolux and LG, and furnishings suppliers such as Sofa by Extravagant and Edgewood Furniture. It also owed $317,382 to RioCan Actual Estate Financial commitment Belief, which is the landlord for other Ontario shops in Mississauga, Burlington, Brampton and Kingston.

The enterprise has obtained approximately $4.5-million in deposits from consumers for upcoming deliveries. Negative Boy is advising buyers who have not been given their orders to get hold of their credit-card providers for refunds. According to the filing, Bad Boy will comprehensive some orders “if the cost of the merchandise is much less than the equilibrium owing.”

The crisis is a turning place for the organization, which opened its first retailer in Toronto just about 70 a long time ago. A youthful Mel Lastman went into enterprise for himself right after the home furnishings keep he labored for went under, according to a online video produced by Terrible Boy about its company history. Mr. Lastman opened Heather Hill Appliances in 1954, and improved the identify to Terrible Boy Appliances the next year.

He became regarded for brash advertising and marketing antics, together with handing out money on a downtown Toronto road corner, or handing out free of charge Thanksgiving turkeys (on leashes, nonetheless gobbling.)

By the early seventies, Mr. Lastman’s ambitions turned to politics. He was elected mayor of North York in 1973, and soon after continuing to operate Terrible Boy in the course of his to start with a few decades in office, he offered his 40 suppliers in 1976.

Mr. Lastman’s son Blayne revived the manufacturer in 1991, betting that he could rebuild the small business even throughout a economic downturn. Blayne and Mel Lastman frequently appeared in commercials with each other, reciting the slogan, “Who’s greater than Terrible Boy? Nooobody!”

Soon after a COVID-19 boom in property enhancements led to a spike in home furnishings gross sales, the market as a full has noticed prospects pull back, said retail-field specialist Bruce Winder, and the existing economic climate is even far more incentive to place off huge-ticket buys. The sector has also found upfront expenditures rise considering that the Canada Border Companies Company imposed new tariffs on some upholstered furniture from China and Vietnam two decades back.

And opposition in decrease-price furnishings is tighter than ever.

“If you glance at corporations like Ikea and Wayfair, they have a a lot larger affinity with young clients, specifically those people on a funds,” Mr. Winder claimed.

Introducing to Lousy Boy’s problems now will be profitable back again belief with customers, he extra.

“It produces a little bit of a doom loop, for the reason that clients say, ‘Am I truly heading to get my fridge, washer, dryer from Bad Boy? Weren’t they in personal bankruptcy? Who’s likely to company it in 1 or two a long time?’” Mr. Winder explained. “That’s going to stick with them, even if they occur as a result of this.”