€9m of goods not delivered as Habitat France seeks liquidation

The company has been warning of financial trouble for months, and administrators have now called for its liquidation, leaving thousands of orders unfulfilled

A view of the Habitat logo on the side of a store
Administrators have now called for the liquidation of the company, with €8-9m worth of products still undelivered
Published Last updated

Thousands of items from Habitat France worth an estimated €8m - €9m have not been delivered to customers as the company continues to experience severe financial difficulties.

The company, which has been independent of the original UK Habitat store since 2011, is in judicial administration, and as of December 18, administrators called for the liquidation of the company due to bankruptcy at the Bobigny Commercial Court.

The company has been struggling to pay its suppliers, or fulfil existing orders for months. Now, the value of the non-delivered orders that have been paid for (either in full or partly) is estimated at between €8 million and €9 million.

The firm partly blamed the difficulties on “internal social movements that affected the activity” of the shops, rising raw material and energy costs, and said that some required restructuring of the business had not been possible due to the “systematic opposition of unions”.

But workers’ unions say that they have been warning of problems for a year, including a lack of sales and no deliveries to shops for months. Ratiba Hamache, union delegate for the CGT Habitat central office, said: “In 2023, we should have taken stock and stopped [trading].”

Read more: Habitat France shops at risk as firm faces financial issues


Two customers told FranceInfo that they had not received an armchair (costing €2,350) and bed (€1,600) respectively, several months after ordering and paying, and had not been able to reach anyone at customer service.

Cécilia Cordoliani, who bought the bed, said: “I really have the feeling that they lied to me.”

Another customer, Thomas, from Ile-de-France, said he bought a chair on offer but never received it. He said: “It's a chair I paid €436 for that I may never get. If I understand correctly, since the company is no longer paying its suppliers, nothing is being delivered. I hope I'll be able to get the chair.

“I'd been waiting a long time to buy it and I'm a bit disgusted. I don't have a chair, my money's gone and I don't know if I'll ever get anything back.”

What if I am affected?

Customers who have not received their orders must declare themselves as a ‘creditor (créancier)’ on the administrators’ website, Habitat.procedurecollective.com as soon as possible.

This is done via an online form, and you must include proof of payment (including screenshots or attachments of your order confirmation, and payment receipts) and proof of your attempt to contact customer service or resolve the issue (screenshots of email exchanges with Habitat, etc).

However, customers are unlikely to get their money back because they are technically ‘unsecured creditors’ with no guarantee of repayment, an expert told FranceInfo.

The first to be repaid from any administration deal will be the company’s 450 employees, the tax authorities, and social security authority Urssaf.

Yet, the CSE (Comité social et économique) has warned that the company may not be able to pay its employees for wages owed over the past two months. Owner and businessman Thierry Le Guénic has said that he will “call on the AGS” (the wage guarantee scheme), which should “logically take over”, he wrote in a note seen by the AFP.

The chequered history of Habitat France

Habitat was originally created in 1964 by British designer Terence Conran as a way to bring ‘affordable’ design into more homes. It opened its first store in Paris, in the Necker neighbourhood, in 1973, to immediate success.

However, Habitat France split from the British group after it was acquired by French distribution company CAFOM in 2011, and now has 25 stores and employs 450 people.

By 2020, the firm had been bought by Mr Le Guénic, but continued to struggle.

In early December, Mr Le Guénic asked for protection from the Bobigny court, and said it was losing €26 million per year despite the changes he had attempted to implement.

Related articles

Habitat France shops at risk as firm faces financial issues
French ‘destock’ shop to sell furniture from UK’s Made.com at 70% off
From food to furniture: where to find a bargain in France