Jobs cut as Powerstore shops are closed

Administrators at Powerstore, the collapsed electrical retailer, closed 31 of the shops yesterday with the loss of 245 jobs. A further 24 head office jobs will also go, including those of founding chief executive Clive Vlotman and finance director Bill Colley.

Most of the shops that will close are high street locations in the East Midlands and Yorkshire. The remaining 54 shops will remain trading while a buyer is sought. Administrators Arthur Andersen said they had received several expressions of interest from potential buyers though none had been for the whole group. It is likely that the remaining 23 superstores will be attractive, though a buyer for the smaller high street outlets may prove elusive.

Commenting on the closures, David Duggins, an administrators said: "We have undertaken a broad ranging review of the financial and trading prospects for the businesses and individual stores. There are a number of cases where an electrical outlet is clearly not viable in the face of competition from out-of-town stores. Furthermore, in the case of some superstores, there is already a substantial over-capacity in those locations." As a result, seven of the out-of-town stores are to close. Mr Duggins said he has written to over 700 customers who have paid or made deposits for goods which have not been delivered.

Powerstore was created in 1993 through the acquisition of a group of stores from London Electricity. Last year it bought 70 stores from East Midlands and Yorkshire Electricity. It collapsed at the end of April with debts of pounds 20m after a period of intense competition which saw many retailers withdraw from the market.

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