Dawsons, Chester’s iconic musical instrument retailer, rescued from closure

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Good news! One of the UK’s oldest musical instrument retailers has been taken over by the administration, securing all 75 jobs.

Dawsons Music, which has an outlet in Chester, was bought by Manchester music entrepreneur Andrew M Oliver and his wife Karen Oliver.

The deal will save six stores and dozens of jobs in England and Northern Ireland.

Stores in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Reading, Belfast and Pepper Street, Chester, have been closed since the lockdown due to coronavirus restrictions.

But Dawsons continued to trade heavily online.

Dawsons Music co-directors Neil Gostelow and Rick Harrison of KPMG’s Restructuring practice confirm that they have sold the company and its assets to the new owners.



The business will continue to be traded through a new company, Dawsons Music & Sound Ltd, owned and operated by Andrew and Karen’s existing company, Arranged Musical Options Ltd.

Founded in 1898 in Warrington, Dawsons is one of the oldest and largest retailers of musical instruments and equipment in the UK.

The company sells a diverse line of musical products, including acoustic, bass and electric guitars; amps and effects; pianos and keyboards; drums and percussion; sound equipment and DJ; orchestral instruments; sheet music books and the latest musical technologies.

Andrew said: “I am delighted to accept such a well established brand with a strong heritage and huge potential. It would have been a huge loss for such a well-known company that loved to close its doors for good. My wife and I relish the opportunity to lead such a strong team at Dawsons. The two companies complement each other completely.



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After graduating in tuba from the Royal Northern College of Music, Andrew established Arranged Musical Options Ltd in 1999. Karen graduated from RNCM in 1995 and went on to work as a professional pianist and teacher.

Karen also obtained a Masters of Music from Psychology in 2001. In 2000 Andrew purchased Alan Gregory Music & Musical Instruments, established in 1976 in Fallowfield, which is now in Didsbury. The company specializes in classical and acoustic musical instruments, including brass, strings, woodwinds and percussion.

Dawsons also has an education division providing instruments and technology to educational institutions in the UK and overseas. Andrew and Karen have many plans to develop the department with the current UK music education team.

Paul Tyrer and Steven Percy, partners of the Corporate and Real Estate teams of SAS Daniels Solicitors, based in Cheshire, advised Mr. Oliver on the transaction.

Paul said: “I am delighted that we were able to save this historic brand and preserve so many jobs. “

Rick Harrison, Partner at KPMG and Co-Director, said: “Since the beginning of our appointment, we have been struck by the affection so many people have for this iconic retailer. We are therefore delighted to have been able to conclude this sale, which not only ensures the sustainability of Dawsons activity, but also guarantees the employment of 75 employees. We wish the new team every success for the future.

They were advised by Hayley Phelps and Jonathan Whitbread of the Harrison Clark Rickerbys law firm.

For more information follow Dawsons: www.dawsons.co.uk/blog


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