Brown on the brink

CONCERN is growing over the future of Brown and Jackson, the owner of the 240-strong Poundstretcher discount store chain, following three weeks of inconclusive rescue talks with Pepkor, one of South Africa's largest retail groups.

Sources close to the discussions say there is unlikely to be any offer from the South African group for the business in its current form. Pepkor is understood to be concerned about the number of loss-making shops and put off by the fact that nearly 75 per cent of the group's leases are due for rent reviews in the coming year.

Time is becoming important because suppliers may grow increasingly nervous in the absence of positive news about the company's finances.

The current management of Brown & Jackson is believed to be trying to raise some money from a couple of financial institutions.

Brown shares closed the week at 3p.