The administrators of Bensons for Beds and Harveys furniture stores have instructed CAPA’s audit and property divisions to help them save and recover cash through the restructuring process.

CAPA’s audit team will undertake full property and accounts payable audits across both companies, while the property team holds negotiations with landlords to agree temporary occupational terms on Harveys stores, as PwC markets the business.

The two retailers were part of a group which had been posting revenues of more than £600m, but they had this year faced severe trading conditions which affected Harveys in particular. This resulted in cash flow pressures, exacerbated by the effects of coronavirus on the supply chain and customer sales.

Eventually, Zelf Hussain, Peter Dickens and Yulia Marshall of PwC were appointed as joint administrators of the group on June 30 2020.

Through a pre-pack administration, they were able to safeguard 1,900 jobs by selling the Bensons for Beds business to a new owner. The Harveys furniture stores will continue to trade in administration while PwC markets the business and explores options for its recovery.

PwC’s subsequent instruction to CAPA means the consultancy’s audit team will conduct a forensic analysis of all data related to invoices across the two businesses. Using bespoke software, they will interrogate the information to discover any errors, anomalies and overpaid sums, which they can recover for the administrators.

The audit team will also inspect data on all property costs on more than 260 sites the retailers traded from. Inspecting utility, rates, service management charges and other outgoings, the auditors will look to recover further overspend.

Meanwhile CAPA’s property team has been engaged across all standalone stores occupied by Harveys. The team will liaise with landlords to agree temporary occupational terms, while the business is marketed and stock sold from the re-opened stores following the enforced closure.