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Almost 200 Poundworld jobs under threat at Northern Ireland's 12 outlets

By Ryan McAleer and PA

Almost 200 jobs at 12 Poundworld stores here are at risk after the budget retailer called in administrators today.

Four stores are in Belfast, with the rest in Newtownabbey, Newtownards, Londonderry, Craigavon, Armagh, Omagh, Bangor, and Cookstown.

There are 188 employees in total in Northern Ireland with branch numbers ranging from 10 to 20. The largest Poundworld workforce is at the Longwood Retail Park in Newtownabbey.

Deloittte has confirmed that it has been appointed after last-ditch rescue talks with potential buyer R Capital broke down over the weekend.

Poundworld, which is owned by TPG Capital, has 335 stores in the UK and employs around 5,100 people.

The administrators said the chain will continue to trade while a buyer for all or part of the business is sought. There are no redundancies or store closures at this time.

Deloitte said Poundworld had suffered from high product cost inflation, decreasing footfall, weaker consumer confidence and an increasingly competitive discount retail market.

“The retail trading environment in the UK remains extremely challenging and Poundworld has been seeking to address this through a restructure of its business,” said joint administrator, Clare Boardman.

“Unfortunately, this has not been possible. We still believe a buyer can be found for the business or at least part of it and we are keeping staff appraised of developments as they happen. We thank all employees for their support at this difficult time.”

The announcement comes after both Toys R Us and Maplin fell into administration earlier this year.

It is understood that TPG and Poundworld’s management rejected offers to buy the business out of a pre-pack administration, and were hoping to sell it as a solvent business.

Other parties named as possible buyers were turnaround specialist Alteri Investors and Poundworld’s founder Chris Edwards. But a deal could not be struck.

Poundworld’s losses widened in 2016-17 to £17.1m, from £5.4m of losses the year before.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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