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Courts is a retailer of furniture and electronic goods with stores in the Caribbean and Asia. It was founded in 1850 in the United Kingdom. It was known for an advertising campaign in the 1980s and 1990s that featured Bruce Forsyth dressed as a judge ("I'll see you in Courts!"). After this it advertised with a singer singing the "Courts you can" song. At its peak, Courts had 350 stores worldwide with 100 in the United Kingdom which were mostly located in retail parks with some on high streets.
Courts Caribbean was founded in 1850, with only one store in England. The company was established in the region since 1959, and is the Caribbean’s largest furniture, appliance and electrical retailer.
In December 2001 Courts PLC breached a number of banking covenants; PWC were appointed by banking syndicate to safeguard its debts. On Monday, 29 November 2004 shares in Courts plc were suspended at 13.5p and the company went into administration and PWC were appointed administrators with debts of £280 million. PWC earned record fees for both pre-administration and post-administration work. The reasons given to appoint administrators was because of a fall in UK sales and Courts had been hit by the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan to its Caribbean arm. The administration caused public controversy because the sudden store closures had seen a number of outlets almost besieged and in some cases damaged by angry customers and left thousands of customers out-of-pocket and without the furniture they had ordered and deposits they had paid. SB Capital owners of Furnitureland acquired the largest number of branches.
Today all branches of Courts in the United Kingdom have been sold or closed, but there continues to be a presence in the Caribbean and Asia
Courts operates over 93 stores in 11 Caribbean countries[when?] including, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Courts Caribbean, is the first Courts store in the United States to serve Caribbean immigrants living in the US, who wish to send gifts to family members in their countries of birth.
Courts in the United States will be positioned as an ethnic and nostalgic brand.
- 1850 – Courts founded in Canterbury, England, by William Henry Court
- 1945 – Courts sold to the Cohen brothers who began to expand the business
- 1946 – Courts introduced hire purchase terms
- 1959 – First overseas Courts store opened in Kingston, Jamaica
- 1959 – Courts listed on London Stock Exchange. By this stage Courts had 34 retail stores in the UK
- 1965 – Courts opened first store in Barbados and diversified product range to include electricals
- 1969 – Courts Jamaica listed on local stock exchange
- 1971 – Courts entry into the Pacific Ocean (Fiji) and Singapore
- 1978 – Courts Barbados listed on local stock exchange
- 2006 (December) – Regal Forest Holdings Limited, a retailer of El Salvador assumed ownership of the 11 Caribbean businesses formerly owned by Courts PLC.
In June 2013 they announced their sponsorship of the Caribbean Premier League “CPL’s partnership with Courts is a very strategic and beneficial one to both parties, and we are thrilled about the possibilities that exist for us from a marketing perspective,” said CPL CEO Damien O’ Donohoe. “Combining our advertising and marketing programmes with that of Courts will heighten the awareness of CPL across the region, and increase fan support, which will put people in the stands at matches and customers in the aisles of Courts.”
- "Courts to go into administration". BBC News Online. 29 November 2004.
- Courts Homecentres, Fiji