A glimmer of hope has appeared for Poundworld after an Irish retail family swooped in to buy the business on its last day of trading.
The Henderson family said today that its offer to buy as many as 50 of the best remaining stores for an undisclosed sum had been accepted by administrators Deloitte.
Although terms have been agreed in principle, insiders cautioned that that the proposed deal has not been officially settled and is subject to a final agreement.
Ray Henderson founded a completely separate company named Poundworld in Ireland in 1984 and sold it in 2007. His son David Henderson led negotiations for the collapsed UK chain.
"We are delighted to have agreed the purchase of Poundworld and we now look forward to bringing the company back to profit and provide current and new customers with an unrivalled product offering at low prices,” David Henderson said.
The Hendersons have formed a new UK entity called RVP Holdings in the UK from which they will operate the business.
Poundworld had been due to shut up its final stores today, after several swathes of branches already closed. Some 4,000 jobs have already been lost as 250 stores closed.
As the deal with the Hendersons has not yet been signed off, all the store closures will go ahead today. But the handful of branches bought by the new owners will reopen in due course, subject to the completion of the acquisition.
The number of stores included in the Hendersons' bid was unclear by the time of writing, but not thought to be higher than 50, which represents a fraction of Poundworld's 355-strong estate. There is no information yet on the location of the stores.
No jobs will be directly saved by the deal, as employees will cease working for the chain after it stops trading. Back in June, rival Poundland offered Poundworld's staff a guaranteed job interview in the wake of the chain's troubles.