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Premium carpet manufacturer, Axminster, was founded in 1937 in the eponymous Devon town, reviving local carpet weaving techniques that date back to 1755. Family owned and operated for four generations, the business grew to employ 1,000 people in the local area, hold a royal warrant and manufacture both Axminster and Wilton carpets.

The business had become loss-making in recent years due to a downturn in the residential housing market and marked increases in British wool prices. Despite management’s best efforts to stem the losses, the business had insufficient working capital and its lenders were nervous about providing further funding.

Axminster Logo
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Hilco Capital’s role

  • Provided further working capital facilities to stabilise the business which were subordinated to the bank’s position
  • Worked closely with management to review all aspects of the business’ operations, standard costing system and supply chain process to evaluate its viability and develop options to return it to profitability
  • Developed KPIs to track operational performance 
  • Identified areas of inefficiency and a number of products that required action to discontinue ranges, target cost reductions and review market pricing
  • Identified areas of supply chain operating below capacity with opportunities to increase efficiency


  • Financial support, at a time when other lenders were unwilling to extend further funding, provided the business with the time to understand the financial and operational issues which were causing distress
  • Operational support provided solutions to the issues identified and assisted with remediation
  • As a result of implementing the financial and operational improvements, the business was able to be marketed for onward sale
  • Ultimately sold to a consortium of investors and continues to trade to this day
  • Hilco’s intervention helped to preserve a culturally significant British heritage business and 1,000 jobs
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