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UK music retailer Dawsons rescued from administration

The iconic retailer Dawsons Music has been bought out of administration by a Manchester music entrepreneur in a deal that will save six stores and dozens of jobs

The iconic retailer Dawsons Music has been bought out of administration by Manchester music entrepreneur Andrew M. Oliver and his wife Karen Oliver, in a deal that will save six stores and dozens of jobs across England and Northern Ireland.

The joint administrators of Dawsons Music, Neil Gostelow and Rick Harrison from KPMG’s Restructuring practice, confirm they have sold the business and its assets to the new owners.

After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Andrew Oliver established Arranged Musical Options Ltd in 1999, later purchasing Alan Gregory Music & Musical Instruments. The business specialises in classical and acoustic musical instruments including brass, strings, woodwind and percussion. Following the rescue, Dawsons will continue to trade via a new company, Dawsons Music & Sound Ltd, which is owned and operated by Arranged Musical Options.

Established in 1898 in Warrington, Dawsons is one of the oldest and largest retailers of musical instruments and equipment in the UK. Although its network of six stores in Manchester, Liverpool, Chester, Leeds, Reading and Belfast had been forced to close due to Covid restrictions in March, the retailer continues to trade strongly online.

The deal means that all 75 staff across the retail estate will keep their jobs.

Paul Tyrer and Steven Percy, partners in the corporate and real estate teams at Cheshire based SAS Daniels Solicitors, advised Andrew M. Oliver on the deal.

Paul Tyrer said:

‘I am delighted that we were able to rescue this historic brand and preserve so many jobs. Andrew has more than 21 years’ experience in the musical instrument sector and over 30 years’ experience as a musician. In that time he has developed a close network of contacts across the globe. This is a fantastic opportunity for him to drive Dawsons forward and I am sure that his strong leadership and passion for music will enable the business to flourish.’

Andrew Oliver said:

‘I’m excited to be taking on such a well-established brand with a strong heritage and huge potential. It would have been a huge loss for a business that is so well known and loved to close its doors for good. My wife and I are relishing the opportunity to lead such a strong team at Dawsons. Both businesses completely complement each other.’