BOSSES at a North-East gift and furniture chain that fell into administration say they are re-opening two stores.

Collectables says it will trade again from Gateshead's MetroCentre and look to employ about 40 workers.

The 28-year-old company called in administrators in October last year with the loss of 150 jobs, after being unable to pay bills or wages.

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The firm grew from a barrow in the MetroCentre selling Geordie-themed novelties into a chain of 14 shops.

David Lewis, managing director, said: “We are pleased to have been able to pick up the lease on the flagship store in the MetroCentre, which has been empty since we left.

“We are delighted to be back in business and will re-employ staff where we can.”


  • The firm was founded by Philip Lewis, a retail magnate who lost a fortune in the 1980s when his chain of North-East off licences went out of business after the Miners' Strike.
  • In 1986, he launched Collectables at the then newly-opened MetroCentre, trading novelty items, such as toys, Geordie passports and marriage certificates.
  • His chain of shops, which became known for selling decorative items, including Lladro figurines and Royal Doulton china, had branches in Alnwick; Carlisle; Dalton Park, near Seaham, County Durham; MetroCentre; Newcastle; North Shields, Castleford, West Yorkshire, and Stockton, which included the Beds Express, Big Cane and Mandale Furniture showrooms.