Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

5,000 retail jobs at risk as Poundworld rescue talks collapse

Russell Knight | 11 June, 2018, 18:26

Deloitte, which had been coordinating efforts to find a solvent deal, will oversee the administration process for the business, which is based in Normanton, West Yorkshire.

It is the biggest chain by number of employees this year to fall into insolvency, just over three months after the same fate befell Maplin and Toys R Us.

The budget retailer is poised to appoint Deloitte to handle an administration after last-ditch rescue talks with private equity firm R Capital broke down over the weekend.

'The retail trading environment in the United Kingdom remains extremely challenging and Poundworld has been seeking to address this through a restructure of its business.

Poundworld, which is owned by TPG Capital, serves two million customers a week across its 355 stores and also trades under the Bargain Buys name.

'Unfortunately, this has not been possible.

A buyer for all or part of the business is now being sought. Losses for the financial year 2016-17 were £17.1m, up from £5.4m the year before.

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The high street has also been rocked by a succession of retailers and restaurant chains unveiling plans to shut down stores to reflect tougher trading conditions.

A spokesman for TPG said putting the business into administration was a "difficult decision".

"Despite investing resources to strengthen the business, the decline in United Kingdom retail and changing consumer behaviour affected Poundworld significantly".

The stores suffered a major rise in multi-million pound losses previous year - rising from £5.4m to £17.1m in 2016/17.

Nevertheless, Monday's news will be the latest in a grim tsunami of developments for Britain's embattled high street.

Some other British retailers are closing stores including Marks & Spencer, fashion retailer New Look, floor coverings group Carpetright, mother and baby goods retailer Mothercare and department store House of Fraser.

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