Administrators for collapsed high street chain Poundworld have fired back at its founder, who accused Deloitte of ignoring his bid to save the company.
Chris Edwards, who sold the business in 2015 for £150m, warned there are just a few days left to prevent the retailer going to the wall with the loss of 3,000 jobs, as Deloitte continues to hunt for a buyer and conduct closing down sales.
But a Deloitte spokesperson said: “To date no party has presented a credible and acceptable bid with accompanying confirmation of funding.”
The administrators insisted they were continuing to seek a buyer “of all or parts of the business”, as time runs out.
Deloitte said: “We have provided guidance to indicate how a successful bid might be structured and have provided detailed information to assist bidders in an effort to help them wherever possible.
“In the interim, as one would expect in these circumstances, we are preparing for all eventualities as this process continues.”
TPG Capital-owned Poundworld collapsed last month amid the crisis facing many high street chains – a consequence of high costs and shaky consumer confidence.
Its plight left 5,100 jobs hanging in the balance – with almost 100 head office roles already going.
Mr Edwards claimed Poundworld failed because it was “mismanaged” and said his plans to save the chain would involve retaining around half its current store estate of 355, as well as 3,000 of the workers.
But he accused administrators at Deloitte of being more interested in securing money for creditors, including Deloitte, than saving jobs.
He said: “I contacted the administrator four weeks ago and was just paid lip service until everyone else they were talking to about saving Poundworld had walked away.
“The process has taken so long that the shops are now holding closing-down sales and selling stock that isn’t being replenished, so, with every day that passes, the task of saving the business becomes more difficult and puts another nail in the coffin.
“It’s clear that the lack of action by the parties running the process has put jobs even more at risk but, when I’ve raised concerns over the timescale, they say their priority is to creditors, so it will be interesting to see how much cash is left after the administrators’ fees and wages.”
The businessman said his team had only days ago been given access to Poundworld’s bankers and its HQ and claimed low stock levels would only make a purchase more difficult.
He added: “If something doesn’t happen in the next few days, the business will go to the wall, which is so unnecessary when we have the desire and ability to save it.”