Poundworld founder blames owner for firm's collapse
Poundworld founder Chris Edwards has blamed “bad management practices” for the downfall of the retailer as its last stores prepare to close on 10 August.
Having sold the business to US private equity firm TPG Capital in 2015, Edwards said the business was “badly managed” following the sale and that he even went as far as raising his concerns with the new owners but that his comments “fell on deaf ears”.
Poundworld went into administration in June. Edwards then put forward a deal to buy 186 stores, but his offer was unsuccessful.
Edwards said the retailer’s demise was not due to Brexit, the internet or a weak pound.
He said: “The new owners made expensive decisions that the business couldn’t take. They started recruiting people from supermarket backgrounds, who didn’t understand the discount, fixed price model and with this they blew the firm’s wage structure.
“Then they started selling multi-price products completely ignoring Poundworld’s USP, which was its amazing range of products that were all priced at just a pound. Customers found this confusing and they didn’t like it, because ultimately they thought they were visiting a pound shop.”
Edwards said he believed the chain could have been rescued if his plan to turn the stores back into traditional pound shops had been implemented.
He added: “By the time they asked for our final offer, the warehouse was almost empty, and the shops were already closing, which was too late and didn’t give us a chance. Taking over a retail business with hardly any stock, which would take months to fully replenish, as well as costing millions, is an impossible task for anyone.
“The whole process took far too long. In my opinion the administrator deliberately slowed down any potential sale of the business to generate more cash, with no thought for the jobs that would be lost.”
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