Wednesday 20 February 2019

Irish family to buy struggling UK budget retailer Poundworld

A Poundworld store (Jane Barlow/PA)
A Poundworld store (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ryan McAleer

The remnants of troubled UK budget retailer Poundworld look set to be bought by the Henderson family from Dublin.

Headed by Ray Henderson, the family were behind a separate Irish version of Poundworld which was established here in 1984.

It was later rebranded in line with the conversion to the euro and sold in 2007.

Mr Henderson's son David, who led the negotiations, confirmed yesterday that their offer to purchase the best and remaining stores for an undisclosed sum had been accepted by administrators Deloitte.

He said the family have formed a new UK entity, RVP Holdings Ltd, to operate the business there.

"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," he said.

Last week David Henderson told Newstalk that if the bid was successful he would look at selling more expensive products in Poundworld stores. He declined to name who the family's financial backers, saying it was commercially sensitive.

Last year Poundworld turned over nearly £500m in the UK, with 6,000 employees across 337 stores.

Poundworld UK, which was bought by US TPG Capital in 2015 for £150m, collapsed into administration in June, with more than 250 stores closing, resulting in the loss of 4,000 jobs.

A source close to the administrators said that while there had been an agreement in principle, the deal had not yet been confirmed.

A formal announcement is expected early next week.

A string of British store groups have either gone out of business or announced plans to close shops this year as they struggle with subdued consumer spending, rising labour costs, higher business property taxes and growing online competition.

The near-demise of Poundworld, based near Wakefield in northern England, follows the collapse this year of Toys R Us UK, electricals group Maplin and drinks wholesaler Conviviality. (Additional reporting Reuters)

Irish Independent

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