Green makes comeback with pounds 3.3m shops purchase

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PHILIP GREEN, the ousted boss of Amber Day, is making a comeback in discount retailing, paying almost pounds 3.3m for Parker & Franks, a loss-making chain of shops based mainly in the North of England.

The colourful, outspoken businessman is buying 54 of the 60 shops from the receiver, saving 800 of the 1,000 jobs in the chain, which sells about pounds 30m of cut-price clothing, hardware, toys and gifts a year.

P&F was put into receivership on 12 May at the request of the directors but continued trading while the insolvency firm Leonard Curtis sought a buyer. The sale proceeds will go to creditors, who are owed pounds 5m. It was previously owned by Barry Parker, a Manchester businessman.

Institutional investors forced Mr Green to resign as chairman and chief executive of Amber Day last September with a pounds 1.1m pay-off after it failed to meet profit forecasts.

Last month he severed his last links with the group, which runs the What Everyone Wants shops, selling his 7.6 per cent stake.

Amber Day was plagued by damaging but unsubstantiated rumours during the last few months of Mr Green's tenure. Its share price plunged by four-fifths to a low of 24p.

Mr Green, who made the purchase through an off-the-shelf company, Ibis 225, was not available for comment yesterday.

Amber Day, meanwhile, scotched speculation that it might buy some of the P&F stores from Mr Green, saying it was not in any talks with him.

Another prospective buyer said it had decided not to bid for P&F because, although it had attractive sites, its systems and stock control were poor.

The six stores left with the receiver are at Ballymena, Burton-on-Trent, Coventry, Hull, Rochdale and York.