Franchisees at Alldays push for shake-up in boardroom

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The Independent Online
FRANCHISE OPERATORS at Alldays are pushing for boardroom changes at the struggling convenience-store group as part of a proposed refinancing of the debt-laden company.

The franchisees have been angered by the performance of chief executive, Colin Glass. The company's share price has collapsed and rescue talks have begun with the group's bankers.

The franchisees are taking their case direct to the company's non-executive directors and a meeting will be scheduled within the next few days.

Alldays announced on Monday that it hoped to secure an agreement with its bankers, led by Royal Bank of Scotland and National Westminster, to increase their loans to the company from around pounds 70m to pounds 200m.

The company needs the additional cash to buy out the franchisees. This would simplify the ownership structure of its 1,020 stores.

However, several of Alldays' franchise operators - called Regional Development Companies - have expressed doubts that a deal is imminent or that the banks will agree to pump additional funds into the ailing group without insisting on new management.

Alldays said yesterday that it had "no knowledge" of any push for management changes from its store franchisees. However, it is thought that Mr Glass is unlikely to survive the crisis. Alldays further admitted that a rescue deal with its bankers may not be completed until next month.

The Regional Development Companies are also unhappy about the terms of trade with Alldays, which acts as the group's wholesaler and distributor.

They claim Alldays failed to pass on the benefits of its bulk buying with suppliers to the RDCs. Alldays admits this practice, but says: "This is in the process of being sorted out."

Alldays' problems stem from rapid expansion that saw it increase its store numbers from 200 to over 1,000 in the space of the past few years. It developed the franchise model as a means of using local entrepreneurs to open stores in a their areas.

But financial controls were weak and the company's complicated structure - where it attempted to act as retailer, wholesaler and distributor - held it back.

Alldays reported a 50 per cent fall in full-year profits to pounds 10m at the turn of the year. Its half-year results were due in June, but have been delayed after the company announced a restructuring charge of between pounds 15m and pounds 19m. The shares have collapsed from 621.5p to 65p in little more than a year.

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