Budget retailer Poundworld has closed it’s final stores after the chain fell into administration in June.
Despite several rescue attempts, Deloitte announced that the chain would close all of its 335 shops, resulting in the loss of 5,000 high street jobs.
Many of the Poundworld branches across Greater Manchester – including shops in the Arndale, Stretford, Denton and Hyde – have already ceased trading in previous rounds of store closures. Any remaining stores are set to shut up shop for the final time on Friday.
TPG Capital, a private equity firm which bought the chain in 2015, blamed the collapse on the decline of the UK retail sector and changing customer behaviour.
But Poundworld’s founder Chris Evans instead criticised the way in which the business was run in the lead up to its collapse.
Edwards 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.”
The former retail boss opened his first ‘Bargain Centre’ store in Wakefield in 1974. He went on to open five more Bargain Centres before discovering the fixed price model and renaming renaming the stores ‘Everything’s £1’ in 1994 and, eventually, Poundworld in 2003.
Poundworld blossomed after the 2008 financial crash, and the number of pound shops doubled between 2010 and 2016.
At their height, Poundworld and Poundland, the two biggest industry players, had more than 1,000 stores between them.
But they also faced competition from the growth of other discounters including B&M, Home Bargains and Savers as well as discount supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi.
Edwards tried unsuccessfully to buy around 180 stores out of administration. He was also critical of administrators Deloitte, accusing them of deliberately slowing down the sale process to generate more money from the liquidation of stock.
Tom Fox, Umbrella Insolvency’s Licensed Insolvency Practitioner said: “Whatever the individual reasons were for Poundworld’s demise, their quick fall from grace should be viewed as a warning to the rest of the retail sector.
“High street shops have been rocked by rising costs including higher business rates and wages as well as threats from new competition online and rising uncertainty due to Brexit.”
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