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As a result, the company have undergone an emergency restructuring, including cutting back on staff and consolidating efforts around their commercial areas – the Arcade and Gallery.

The setback comes just as chief executive Alan Marcuson was due to announce the upgrading of the site, with an enhanced Arcade, search engine and behind-the-scenes inventory management system known as My Cloudband. Further enhancements are planned this year along with the launch of a major new product – the Cloudband Directory – which will list trade services, such as restorers, of interest to Cloudband’s niche market.

Mr Marcuson explained: “Although it was hard and deeply unpleasant, we had to act fast as we were determined not to lose everything to current financial conditions.

“Cloudband’s members rely on us for a significant portion of their trade and we have a duty to keep the Arcade and Gallery going for them through these tough times. Furthermore, we are convinced that in the coming months Cloudband’s ability to connect a globally fragmented market is going to become increasingly valuable as dealers cut back on fairs and international travel.”