The Dublin retailing family that opened the first Poundworld in Ireland has agreed to a last-minute rescue of what’s left of the discount retailer in the UK raising hopes it could reopen on some UK High Streets – but it won’t save jobs of existing staff.
The Henderson family – who opened a store called Poundworld in Dublin in 1984 and which became Euroworld in 2007 – agreed in principle with administrator Deloitte to buy the Poundworld brand and the leases on some of the stores of the collapsed discount retailer.
The proposed deal is expected to include 10 per cent of the 355 Poundworld shops.
If the stores do re-open under the Poundworld brand they will have to be re-stocked and new staff hired with no obligations or protections for existing staff members. If the deal goes ahead, for an as yet undisclosed sum, there will be no debt obligations or pensions obligations to existing staff, another source said.
Poundworld in the UK was founded in 1974 by Christopher Edwards and has never had any association with its Irish namesake.
Poundworld UK was bought by US-based TPG Capital in 2015 for £150 million but was badly hit by the 15 per cent fall in the value of the pound since the 2016 Brexit referendum.
It collapsed into administration in June and more than 250 of its 337 stores shut down with 4,000 job losses. All its stores closed last Friday bringing the total job losses to 5,100.
Ray Henderson sold the Irish Poundworld, which had become Euroworld, in 2007. His son, David Henderson, who has experience in the retail sector in Ireland and the US, led the negotiations to acquire Poundworld in the UK.
David Henderson said: “We are delighted to have agreed the purchase of Poundworld and we now look forward to bringing the company back to profit and provide current and new customers with an unrivalled product offering at low prices.”
The Hendersons have formed a new UK entity, RVP Holdings Limited, to operate the business locally.
Administrator Deloitte rejected numerous other rescue bids, including an attempt by the original Poundworld founder Chris Edwards to buy 180 stores.
Edwards accused Deloitte of slowing down the sales process to generate money from the liquidation of stock and blamed “very bad” management from TPG for Poundworld’s collapse, pointing the finger at their decision to hire staff with little experience in the discount sector.
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