Reason for administration: mis-management & poor decision-making by the SC hierarchy.
Having worked there for over 5 years, I know how Turnkey worked both before and after it was purchased by Sound Control.
Prior to SC buying TK, TK's bank account was in the black, despite high central London rents. I don't think SC understood what it was buying really - Music Tech is not the most profitable sector to be in, and for a company expanding using leverage it's not a great idea to jump in to a £12 million (?) purchase commitment if you don't know what you're getting into.
SC thought they could increase the fairly lean (but profitable) profit margins by making as many non fee-earners (ie support staff) as possible redundant. They talked like the salespeople were important to them, but behaved in another way - the basic attitude to staff retention at TK had never been good, but when SC bought TK it became noticeably worse (eg. a particular, extremely valuable company sales director was viewed as expendable/replaceable).
At the time I seem to recall we had a good handful of salespeople who produced 2-3 times what the average salesperson did - this number of course dwindled as SC's mis-management of TK became clear (no smart guy likes working for a moron); say 5 guys producing over £300k per month (1/5th - 1/4 of an average month's turnover).
I personally never had a problem with the pay, but then I sold a lot - I was probably one of those guys some customers thought arrogant or rude (I made it an art-form to "move through" time-wasters). For all those TK bashers throughout the ages, unless you work in a retail store in Central London you have no idea about the constant stream of morons who come through the door wanting to "makes some beats innit" or wanting to record violins with a Samson CO1 and a Behringer Mic100 and have it sound great... Bit off topic, but anyhow.
It was noticeable from early on that the 2 people SC put in charge of TK (lookout for Gibson UK tanking soon - alreet pal!) had no idea about business fundamentals. My favourite SC decision was to move the main storage warehouse during December '06 (WTF???) - busiest month of the year... If you ever wanted to know how much that kind of crash stupidity costs you - it's about £650,000 in obvious and immediately lost sales (no idea how much repeat/future business TK lost due to it).
Basically SC tried to run TK like just another Sound Control branch - which kind of defeated the point. Much maligned though TK was, prior to SC's buyout it worked rather well (even if there were a significant amount of clueless monkeys on the staff, and some customers got annoyed sometimes). TK did what it did (shifted boxes cheap and added cables to make up the margin); Mediatools was quite a respected pro audio entity; Soho Soundhouse knocked out guitars at pretty high margin and Carillon made damn good computers AND managed to cultivate and keep a very good reputation (and if DV don't at least buy Carillon, they're not very clever). SC tried to lump TK/MT/Carillon into a Sound Control shaped hole and found that it didn't fit right and that the more they tried to squeeze the damned thing into the SC shaped hole, the more the turnover and profits declined.
I ended up jumping ship a year ago when it was painfully obvious that the management were running TK into the ground and that it was an obvious liability to SC - amusingly, despite my £800,000 yearly turnover they did not make much of an attempt to keep me (it was more the other way around, I could probably have won a constructive dismissal case if I could've been bother to contest). Shortly after I left, one of my big-producing bretheren was framed for nicking a laptop and fired (and prosecuted - he was acquitted, surprisingly, because he didn't do it).
And don't get me started on who got put in charge of sales after they lost the important sales director mentioned earleir...
The only thing that surprised me about SC/TK going bust was that it took so long to happen - glad I jumped ship when I did.
1 little note to end on: the customer is also to blame (to a certain extent) for the company going bust. The customer wants the cheapest price possible in the asking price of the product, and typically also then want a discount...(haggling, price-beating between shops etc.) Plus these customers are surprised when the service is not so good - in general terms if a retailer's margin is 17% (gross) do you think most of the staff are eating steak nightly? No, and obviously if the pay is poor (for those who are not good/very good salespeople - but who perhaps have good product knowledge) people won't stay in the job long - basically the customer creates a vicious circle for themselves, they don't want to pay much, the retailer can't afford to pay staff good money so the staff turnsover and you're basically left with a bunch of monkeys.
Sorry if that's all a bit opinionated, and given that it's 2.30am, probably not particularly coherent or well-argued...
I think it'll be interesting to see whether it's Thomann or Guitar Center (sic) who fill the void, but I really don't think we'll miss Sound Control much (feel sorry for the staff who lost their....etc etc). Perhaps a better run company will exploit the mess. Perhaps Argos will buy them and take them to their logical conclusion.
Take it hard :headbang: