About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

News, Views Etc . . . Pound's, -World, -Land and '+Plus!

Poundland

I'll start with Poundland, who after their often featuring in these News' posts in the past as they took-over 99p Stores and then suffered a hiccup or two of their own, have been pretty quiet recently, while Poundworld have been filling the column-inches with their own woes.

Last December (I know, I haven't done a decent 'News, Views . . .' since October - too much other, better stuff to publish . . . and some fun shite!) shares in Poundland plunged by 63% in a day following the sudden departure of Markus Jooste, CEO of Steinhoff amid news of financial irregularities. Christo Weise (head of Brait - the biggest shareholder) took over and the keel evened. PwC are investigating, so nothing to report there; huh?

More bad news - for the Poundland management - followed at the beginning of February when the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) pulled all the online adverts 'staring' the Elf on a Shelf' for gratuitous sexuality.

The elf was posed playing strip-poker with three dolls; naked in a sink with two dolls taking selfies (or were they elfies?); getting a little too-close to a donkey for most jurisdictions (I think it's legal in Alabama, and 'blind-eye' acceptable in some parts of Central Asia!); and errr . . . 'riding' a [Santa's] toothbrush. As I fucking hate the [recently imported, nothing to do with Christmas traditions] little shelf-elf fucker, this was - in my opinion - bloody good news!

In May the original founder (Steven Smith, he sold the store-chain in 2002) of Poundland's house came on the market for a cool £3.9-million pounds, apparently priced to sell because they wanted a quick sale! Best described as 'plantation-style' porn-palace pile in pink-brick, it was originally offered at £6.5-mil'!

Finally and taking-us neatly on to Poundworld; Mr smith announced earlier this month (July) that he was interested in buying some of the ailing Poundworld empire to try to save it.

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Poundworld / Poundworld+Plus
Easier to do this one as a diary, I have been chatting to the guys in Poundworl+Plus here in Fleet as the whole thing unravelled, as there are few new jobs for lesser-skilled or younger job-seekers in a middle-class dormitory-town like this, and they were happy to get the positions when the store opened not that long ago. What they were being told by head-office varied greatly from either that which was in the press and what tended to be announced to the 'City', the day after they (the staff) had been told something else!

April 27th
It is announced that up to 1,500 jobs are at risk as Poundworld pursues a restructuring plan that could shut about a third of its stores. It is looking at a Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) to enable rent-reduction and the closing of up to 100 unprofitable stores - so far, so Toys 'Я' Us! TPG capital (the owner) is reported ready to inject £40m into the business, they also being owners of the Prezzo restaurant chain - also seeking a CVA and closing sites!

June 7th
It is rumoured that Poundworld could collapse within days putting all 355 stores (and 5,300+ jobs) at risk. Between the April and June headlines TGP had trousered the £40m and put the chain up for sale, potential buyers Alteri Group were by the beginning of June having second thoughts - presumably having seen 'the books' - so far, so Toys 'Я' Us!

June 11th
Administrators appointed - so far, so Toys 'Я' Us!

June 19th
100+ redundancies are announced at head office - so far, so Toys 'Я' Us!

June 21st
Closing-down sale begins with consultants Hilco called in to organise clearance of stock, administrators Deloitte taking over from what's left of management  - so far, so Toys 'Я' Us!

June 22nd
Someone [unnamed by the 'i'] blames the Government for denying a rate-cut to Poundworld which would have unlocked £4.1m of funding (your/our 'tax-payers' money), from a fund of £3.4Bn earmarked for ailing companies, it relies on the rate cuts that should have come with the CVA - but was probably also reliant on the owner's forking-up of the £40m?

July 3rd
Original founder of Poundworld (Chris Edwards - 1974) blames the administrators for preventing his rescue bid of 180 stores. Creditors are fingered by Deloitte as being a 'priority' while Mr Edwards claims that with every day of fire sale the stores become harder to save as stock isn't being replenished, bankers Santander finally wake-up, too late!

July 10th
As mentioned above, rival founder of Poundland (Steven Smith - 1990) throws his hat in the ring; at this - late - stage, he's presumably looking for a bargain to offset against his cut-price house sale!

July 11th
Deloitte announce 25 branches will close on Sunday (15th), with the rest of the chain continuing to trade while a buyer is sought, despite all buyers pulling out, and neither Chris Edwards or Steven Smith apparently being considered? Clare Boardman of Deloitte explains that it would be nice to sell part of the business while banging-on about failing to sell the whole business! Number of stores is now being reported to be only 335 - typo there somewhere!

July 13th
Fleet store puts "Last 10 days" signage up, despite not being on initial published list.

July 14th
Announcement of another 80 stores to close, bringing total redundancies to 1,266; Deloitte 'still trying to find a buyer' but clearly not the two guys trying to buy it?

July 18th
Another 40 stores join the growing list - back to the Toys 'Я' Us model of doing things!

July 20th
Head office closes, warehouse operations cease (meaning all outstanding stock is in stores), and an unspecified number of extra store join the list. The Times reports all stores will close 'early next month'.

July 22nd
Fleet closed - so far, so Toys 'Я' Us!

Deloitte (one of the 'big four' global's) will get their money, Santander (Spanish) will get their money, TPG Capital (US) will be registered as creditors and probably get their money, redundancies will be marked-down by the level of collapse and the staff will only get some of their money! Suppliers and Landlords will have to fight for theirs!

That's Thatcherite-Raganomic free-market capitalism folks and you keep voting for it.

50,000 jobs lost in the last 12 months - on the high-street.

Toys 'Я' Us, Maplin, and Poundworld are the tip of an iceberg which TGP's restaurant chain Prezzo will join!

And Brweaksit won't help, it will make it easier for US companies to dump UK assets and harder for Spanish banks to save them! But then - if you still believe in Brwreaksit, now; you're a fuckwit.

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