Discount retailer may axe 300 staff in 27 stores

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Some 300 jobs are in jeopardy following the collapse of the discount retailer Everything's a pounds , writes Roger Trapp.

Scott Barnes and Andrew Conquest of accountants Grant Thornton, who were appointed receivers yesterday, are hopeful of finding buyers for some of the 27 stores either individually or in small groups.

The chain based on the US "dollar store" concept was founded in 1992 by Bruce Coe and George Lesiak, with the first store specialising in gifts, food and cleaning products opening at Newcastle's Gateshead shopping centre. Since then, the Peterborough-based group has spread all over Britain, including the South-east, where there are four to five outlets. Annual turnover reached about pounds 12m, but losses since the start-up are approaching pounds 2m. Many of the approximately 300 workers are part-time shop assistants.

Mr Barnes, head of corporate recovery at Grant Thornton, said the firm was already talking to "a number of parties interested in either small chains of stores or in individual stores". It was optimistic that some outlets could be sold.

He and Mr Conquest have appointed Mark Williams, a director of property agents DTZ Debenham Thorpe, to assess and market the portfolio of stores.