* 250-year-old company continues to trade while it explores rescue options
* Trading has been “difficult” - Axminster director
* 400 jobs at risk
LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Axminster Carpets, the manufacturer whose luxury carpets have graced Britain’s stately homes and palaces since the eighteenth century, is calling in the administrators, joining a growing list of businesses seeking rescue to avoid collapse.
The 250-year old company, which employs around 400 people, said on Wednesday it would continue to trade while it explores all potential restructuring operations.
Axminster was named after the hometown of its founder Thomas Whitty, who started making carpets in 1755. Its woven wool carpets and rugs were chosen for stately homes and were snapped up by members of Britain’s royal family.
In modern times, the company has supplied carpets to high street retailers including John Lewis Plc and Carpetright PLC.
“Trading has been difficult and the management has been working with key suppliers, creditors and the lenders in an attempt to resolve the company’s financial difficulties,” company director Joshua Duffield said in a statement.
Axminster said it intended to appoint Duff & Phelps as administrators.
With consumers struggling with muted wage growth and government austerity measures, Britain has seen a number of household names enter administration in recent months, including music retailer HMV Group Plc, camera specialists Jessops and the UK arm of DVD rental firm Blockbuster.