Dublin retailing family wants to ‘make Poundworld great again’ in the UK

Henderson family plan bid for insolvent British discount retailer

The family’s patriarch, Ray Henderson, founded Poundworld, an entirely separate business to the UK group, in the Republic in 1984. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The family’s patriarch, Ray Henderson, founded Poundworld, an entirely separate business to the UK group, in the Republic in 1984. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

 

A Dublin retailing family says it is preparing a bid to buy about 200 Poundworld stores out of insolvency proceedings in Britain.

Members of the Henderson family, who previously ran a similarly-named but unrelated chain of discount stores in Ireland, are part of a consortium with European investors that plans to submit a bid to Poundworld’s Deloitte administrators “shortly”.

The Henderson bid is due to be submitted using the family’s US-based investment vehicle, Corinthia Investments.

It may face competition from rival bidders, including Poundworld’s original founder in the UK, Chris Edwards, and the founder of the entirely separate UK chain Poundland, which has a similar name but is not in administration and is trading well.

Poundworld collapsed into administration in June, putting 5,000 jobs at 335 stores at risk. Since then, Deloitte has closed a raft of loss-making stores. The administrators have said they plan to bring the shutters down on the remaining tranche of stores on August 10th, after a purported deadline for serious bidders to emerge expired earlier this month.

Rescue bids

The possibility that potential rescue bids may yet emerge from either the Edwards or Poundland has been widely mooted in UK media reports in recent weeks, although Deloitte has yet to confirm contact with any bidder.

It is understood, however, that the Hendersons have only just entered the fray and made contact with Deloitte towards the end of last week.

The family’s patriarch, Ray Henderson, founded Poundworld, an entirely separate business to the UK group, in the Republic in 1984. A couple of years after the business adjusted its moniker to the conversion to euro, it was sold in 2007.

His son, David Henderson, who previously with worked with him in the Irish business, is fronting the Corinthia bid. He declined to discuss the price he and his investors might be willing to pay, but he said his family had the experience and resources to “make Poundworld great again”.

Discussions

“We are in discussions with Deloitte,” he told The Irish Times. “Our intention is to purchase all remaining parts of the business, which is about 200 stores with 3,000 employees.”

Mr Henderson said the family is in partnership on its bid with “European-based equity backers” but he declined to provide further details.

He suggested that, if successful, the Hendersons may look at nudging Poundworld away from selling most of its products for £1 and widening its range with some higher-priced products. The chain would retain its name, however.

Deloitte declined to comment last night.