As fiercely competitive market dynamics continue to take their toll on retailers, today has brought another controversial administration.

On Friday it was footwear specialist Jones Bootmaker, which was rescued through a pre-pack deal by turnaround firm Endless.

And today it was the turn of 99p Stores, which tumbled into administration less than two years after it was acquired by Poundland.

Steinhoff-owned Poundland bought its rival in September 2015, converting the 99p Stores it wanted to retain and transferring them to Poundland leases.

The remaining “unprofitable” stores – around 60 of them – stayed under the ownership of the 99p Stores subsidiary.

That subsidiary company has now been placed into administration, giving Poundland an easier escape from onerous rental agreements and allowing it to side-step lengthy negotiations with landlords to exit stores, or protracted efforts to offload leases.

Not only does the move call into question the role of the Competition and Markets Authority, which gave the acquisition the green light following a protracted investigation, but it also throws the spotlight on the UK’s insolvency laws.

You get the impression that this could be just the start of the story.

Quote of the day

“It’s no secret that the previous management of Poundland had difficulties digesting its 99p Stores acquisition.” 

– A Poundland spokesman talks to Retail Week after 99p Stores fell into administration

Today in numbers


The number of physical bookstores Amazon has opened in the US, as it eyes a move into furniture and electricals shops.


The amount of funding that John Lewis Partnership is offering to start-ups that are selected for this year’s JLab start-up accelerator programme.

Tomorrow’s agenda

A busy day in the City sees Moss Bros and Card Factory post full-year results.

Luke Tugby, head of content