Andrew Cussins, who founded Sofa Workshop in 1985, bought 12 stores out of administration last month, saving 50 jobs.
He said that the business had lost its focus and he “hated seeing it being screwed up by people who didn’t know what they were doing”.
Cussins will focus on Sofa Workshop’s online business and revive its product design credentials. He said the online and mail order business was worth£14m when MFI took over in 2002.
“When I sold the business it had an outstanding internet and mail order business,” he said. “This all got chucked away by MFI. But in 12 months we’ll have a significant online business.”
Cussins said restoring Sofa Workshop’s product development was “key to a design-led business”. He also aims to give the retailer a “lifestyle feel” and try new furniture and roomsets at its Putney store in London. “We want to make Putney look absolutely stunning,” said Cussins, “to see how the wow factor works.”
He added that he will also be “experimenting” with its Tottenham Court Road shop. Product lines will be extended to include other big-ticket goods, including living room furniture. This could be extended to other items for the home.
11 of the 12 stores saved are in the south of England; the other is a franchise shop in Chester. However, Cussins said the retailer would “return to the North and the Midlands”. He said he would open stores in these locations, but in the short term would sell to those customers through its online and mail order business.
Cussins bought the business with the backing of an undisclosed retail partner, alongside Sofa Workshop’s largest supplier and largest logistics operator.
Rival furniture retailer New Heights bought Sofa Workshop from MFI in 2006 but collapsed into administration in May. Sofa Workshop was saved by a consortium of existing shareholders, but then collapsed last month.