Deathwatch? Instore and Threshers could be in big trouble
Throughout the recession, there’s been a belief that budget stores have continued to thrive as punters look to make their money go further. Indeed, this writer recently had a dream where the naked CEO of Poundland danced drunkenly on a grave that had ‘Debenhams’ etched into the headstone. But that’s another story.
That belief that budget stores are recession-proof has been exposed as a myth today with the announcement that Instore have doubled their losses to £5.8m in the year up to February 28th, more than doubling the previous year’s loss of £2.2m.
But wait a minute – maybe budget is best after all. Instore, of course, own the Poundstretcher brand, and the Instore shops were seen as an attempt to add a veneer of sophistication to a super-affordable offering. And now it seems that Instore are looking to convert many of their stores to the Poundstretcher brand, with ‘pile ‘em high and sell ’em cheap’ possibly the way forward. If it doesn’t work out, it could be curtains for both names.
Elsewhere, crap off licence chain Thresher are continuing to edge towards the retail exit door. It’s been reported that some franchisees are only receiving around 55-60 per cent of the stock they’ve ordered over the past two months.
This worrying news comes after the company’s owner, First Quench Group, issued a “going concern” warning on Companies House, outlining a “material uncertainty” casting doubt on its ability to continue trading in its current form. Between May 2007 and June 2008, the group’s pre-tax losses were £30m.
Could it be last orders for Thresher soon then? Actually, that doesn’t make any sense really, because although they sell booze, they’re not a pub. Sorry.