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Poundworld founder Chris Edwards says rescue deal is at risk

Poundworld founder Chris Edwards has confirmed that he still hopes to save more than half of the retailers’ stores but said the administration process has been “handled badly”.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Poundworld founder Chris Edwards says rescue deal is at risk

Poundworld founder Chris Edwards has confirmed that he still hopes to save more than half of the retailers’ stores but said the administration process has been “handled badly”.

The business was acquired by US private equity firm TPG in 2015, but the company called in administrators Deloitte last month.

Edwards said he has put forward a deal to save 186 stores.

Commenting on the administration, he said: “In my opinion, the whole administration process has been handled badly. I contacted the administrator four weeks ago and was just paid lip service until everyone else they were talking to about saving Poundworld had walked away.

“The process has taken so long that the shops are now holding closing down sales and selling stock that isn’t being replenished, so with every day that passes, the task of saving the business becomes more difficult and puts another nail in the coffin.

"It’s clear that the lack of action by the parties running the process has put jobs even more at risk but when I’ve raised concerns over the timescale, they say their priority is to creditors, so it will be interesting to see how much cash is left after the administrator’s fees and wages.

“If something doesn’t happen in the next few days, the business will go to the wall, which is so unnecessary when we have the desire and ability to save it.”

Edwards said he has now been given access to the team at Poundworld’s lender Santander who are working with him on a potential deal. He has also visited Poundworld’s headquarters to see how much stock is available.

He added: “It would be a race against time to replenish stock levels enough to stabilise Poundworld, and each day that passes means we’re moving further away from being able to save the business which is incredibly frustrating.

“However, although reviving the business will be a huge task, key members of our old management team are prepared to return and if we get it right we can save 3,000 jobs, but the clock’s ticking.”

 

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