12th May 2009

Thorns reinforces market-leading position with huge buyout of competitor’s stock

Thorns Group has strengthened its position as the UK’s leading hire specialist for furniture and catering equipment by purchasing the entire stock of failed competitor CHS. . .

Thorns Group has strengthened its position as the UK’s leading hire specialist for furniture hire and catering equipment by purchasing the entire stock of failed competitor CHS.

The deal – involving tens of thousands of pieces of event equipment – follows the announcement that Manchester-based CHS has entered administration.

Thorns, which operates from offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham, already holds a stock of more than a million individual items. The acquisition of CHS’s stock will complement Thorns’ furniture and catering equipment supplies while also dramatically bolstering its holding of kitchen and back-of-house ranges.

CHS’s warehouse contains large quantities of catering equipment including china, cutlery and glassware together with exhibition furniture such as banqueting chairs, tables and garden and patio furniture. There is also a wide variety of back-of-house kitchen equipment ranging from ovens, fryers and hot holding cupboards to bain-maries, servery units and cold-food storage equipment.

Thorns’ Group Sales Director Clair Whitecross said: “The acquisition of furniture and equipment from CHS will significantly increase our stock, while also boosting our depots in Birmingham and London. This extra capacity greatly enhances our ongoing expansion and helps to further reinforce our national presence.”

She added: “Through a focus on outstanding customer service and high-quality stock – but coupled with realistic pricing in a competitive market – Thorns has been able to remain strong during an extremely challenging period for the events sector.”

CHS was created in December 2006 following the purchase of JHS Manchester from the Johnson Service Group. The business has since operated across the events sector with stock that includes tables, chairs, cooking equipment, china, cutlery, glassware, linen, garden and patio furniture, bar furniture and accessories.

However, it was confirmed earlier this month that the company had entered administration.

The transfer of CHS’s furniture and equipment to Thorns’ warehouses will offer a broad range of benefits, not least to the group’s ongoing environmental efforts.

Clair Whitecross explained: “Thorns has operated nationally for a number of years but by supplementing the quantities of stock held in our regional warehouses there will be much less need to transport furniture across the country. We will have greater scope to call on furniture and equipment being held locally.”

The purchase of equipment will also offer even greater scale and choice to Thorns’ customers outside the events market. The group remains a leading provider of furniture and catering supplies to the exhibitions, conference and weddings markets.

About Thorns Group:

Thorns Group is the UK’s premier independent supplier of equipment, services and expertise to the events, exhibitions and conference sectors. With operations in London, Birmingham and Manchester, the group acts as a single-source supplier through its Thorns Furniture and Catering Hire, Camden Exhibition Services and Classic Technical Services specialist divisions.

It can meet every furniture and catering equipment requirement, whether clients are seeking tables, chairs, office furniture and bespoke furnishings or the finest china, cutlery, silverware, glassware and linen. Thorns Group also offers plasma screens, electrical fittings and power supplies.

The team at Thorns recently established a stand-alone venture, Thorns Support Services Ltd, to provide short-term staff and longer-term contract personnel to customers including catering companies, hoteliers, restaurateurs, exhibition organisers and sporting arenas.