Poundland founder eyes up beleaguered Poundworld
Steven Smith could stage a return to the high street with a bid for his former rival.
Poundland’s founder Steven Smith is considering a return to the high street with a swoop on embattled retail rival Poundworld.
Mr Smith, who founded Poundland in 1990, is in early-stage talks about a bid to salvage part of Poundworld out of administration, sources told the Press Association.
Poundworld fell into administration on June 11 and the retail chain has started closing down sales.
Deloitte last week turned down a bid for Poundworld from its founder Chris Edwards, who was looking to save a raft of stores and safeguard around 3,000 jobs.
Mr Smith sold Poundland to Advent International in 2002 and is now a retail consultant and speaker.
His son, Ashley Smith, launched Poundshop.com in a bid to replicate his father’s success in the online arena.
Poundworld, which was formerly owned by private equity firm TPG Capital, has 335 stores and employs around 5,100 people.
Joint administrators Daniel Butters and Clare Boardman have already made 100 people redundant at Poundworld’s head office in Normanton, West Yorkshire.
Deloitte is still in talks with a number of bidders in the hope of selling part of the business.
As part of the process, Deloitte must first seek to sell the business as a going concern and, failing that, must achieve a better deal for creditors than they would secure by selling off Poundworld’s property.
Mr Edwards said last week that he was “shocked and surprised” that his bid for around 180 of Poundworld’s stores was rejected by Deloitte.
“I’ve made a substantial and credible offer, which is the best offer we can put forward, but in my opinion it hasn’t been given the respect it deserves,” he said.
“Although it was close to what the administrator wants, we’ve now had written confirmation that it’s not high enough, which I’m shocked and surprised at, considering we were going to save 3,000 jobs.”
Mr Smith and Deloitte declined to comment.