Furniture deal

Bureau Group acquires assets of failed 2ndhnd

Jennifer and Andy Russell: big plans

Workplace furniture procurement company Bureau Group has acquired the business assets of collapsed online retailer 2ndhnd.

The move brings furniture remanufacture in-house for the first time at Edinburgh-based Bureau Group, which helps companies refit and redesign office spaces by removing furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) sustainably.  

The acquisition secures five jobs at Dundonald-based 2ndhnd which entered administration on 17 October, with the loss of 13 staff. Six were retained to assist the administrators.

Further jobs likely to created – including apprenticeships – as Bureau Group sets about building the UK’s largest remanufacture facility for commercial office furniture. 

The remanufacture facility will see furniture from large corporates, SMEs, and the public sector completely refurbished and ready to be commercially resold or redistributed to charities, schools and other not-for-profits, avoiding the need for furniture to go to landfill. 

Already, more that 17,000 pieces of furniture are in the warehouse ready to be redistributed. 

The new arm of the business will initially operate as a direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform under Bureau Group’s The Office Crowd banner, before ultimately also providing complete furniture refurbishment for B2B procurement teams – a service that has been typically challenging to date. 

Bureau Group co-founders Andy and Jennifer Russell say the acquisition is a “pivotal moment in supporting large scale decarbonisation of the commercial furniture industry”.

Andy Russell, managing director, said: “This is huge –  it’s exactly in line with our trajectory as a sustainable and design-led business. Our purpose is to help support companies to be as sustainable as possible, by embedding circularity within every business decision. 

“The conversation around the circular economy and commercial furniture has been getting louder for some time, but the thing that makes it possible doesn’t exist in a serious way. Nobody is doing this on a mass scale – until now. 

“This acquisition means we can create a genuine opportunity for firms to make a different decision on the way they buy furniture that is more cost effective and also helps to save the planet.”

Jennifer Russell, group operations director, said: “We see huge value in this market, and are pleased to rescue the industry-leading skills and experience here in Scotland.”

Shona Campbell, partner at administrator Henderson Loggie, said: “Bureau Group presented an ambitious, exciting and most importantly viable plan for the future of the business.”

Bureau Group, which also has branches in Glasgow, London and US tech hub Seattle, is on course to turn over £10 million plus next year, delivering projects for UK-based companies around the world.

Clients include flight comparison site Skyscanner and asset manager abrdn for whom renovation of its HQ resulted in massive carbon savings, 6,000 computers wiped and recycled and unwanted furniture donated to charity.

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