Administrators have put its 80 leasehold stores up for sale

The administrators of troubled furniture retailer Klaussner have put its 80 leasehold stores up for sale, after a last-ditch rescue plan by boss Peter Kirwan foundered last week.

Kirwan, the managing director of the St Helen's-based firm, which also traded under the name The Sofa Company, had hoped to buy up to 30 of the most profitable sites. However, sources believe this is now not likely to happen.

One source said: 'There was an initial plan, but I don't think Peter Kirwan will be continuing with trying to buy the business.'

The retailers immediately tipped to acquire some of the stores were rival furniture chain Land of Leather, which has just completed a£77.6 million stock market flotation, and Sports World.

The average size of the outlet centre stores is 10,000 sq ft (930 sq m), but analysts said the quality of the locations varied widely. Will Hatton, director of Savills' Manchester office, said: 'Possibly Sports World will be interested ... They are only likely to take one or two stores at the most.'

Land of Leather declined to comment. Other names in the frame are Next, Clarks and furniture retailer ScS.

Klaussner's administrator, BDO Stoy Hayward, has instructed agent Churston Heard to conduct the sale.

Churston Heard head of retail Guy Grainger said: 'It could be an overall business sale or the portfolio could be split up. Obviously the administrator is keen to get the best price.'

Grainger added that a number of offers had already been made, but declined to comment further.

Stephen Yarnold, director at agent Harvey Spack Field, said: 'I would be very surprised if they sold the whole lot to one retailer. The demand simply isn't there just now.

'I would expect them to sell the 10 or so best quite quickly, with the remainder going over a six- to nine-month period.'

Klaussner employs 490 staff, of which 240 work in its stores around the country. It went into administration on July 21.

The administrator said the£62 million turnover business had suffered from growing consumer caution and intense competition from the Far East.