POUNDWORLD became the latest high street retailer to go into administration today, putting more than 5,000 jobs at risk.
The collapse has brought the number of retail jobs lost or threatened in recent months to more than 25,000, and deepened the crisis facing the sector in Britain.
Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey MP accused the Tories of spending their time on internal squabbling over Brexit while leaving long-standing high street businesses to their fate.
She said: “Yet another store in trouble and thousands of workers at risk of losing their jobs.
“The Tories are too distracted by Brexit infighting to tackle the rapid decline of our high streets and town centres.”
And she pledged action to help the retail sector if Labour is elected.
“Labour will support retail by placing it at the heart of our industrial strategy and radically reform the business rates system," she vowed.
"It’s time for the Tories to step up to the challenge of rescuing our high streets,” she said.
Shopworkers’ union Usdaw accused the retailer of not informing its members of developments because it does not recognise the union.
Usdaw national officer Dave Gill said: “Poundworld staff are deeply concerned about their jobs after the company failed to secure a rescue package.
"We are seeking urgent talks with the administrators to represent the best interests of our members and urge them to find a buyer for the company.
“Regrettably Poundworld do not recognise Usdaw and they have not been keeping us informed of developments. We are hopeful that the administrators will engage with us to help save jobs.”
Unite, which represents workers warehouse and logistics staff in the company’s West Yorkshire heartland, described the collapse as “a major blow to a local economy which is already under severe pressure.”
Regional officer Sharon Ramsden said: “It is essential that every effort and assistance is made to find a buyer and to save as many jobs as possible.”
The Poundworld collapse followed the House of Fraser announcement just days ago of plans to shut 31 stores, affecting around 6,000 jobs.
Poundworld’s losses increased from £5.4 million in 2015-16 to £17.1 million in 2016-17.
Clare Boardman, joint administrator at Deloitte, said the business had been hit by fewer customers, rising costs and weak consumer confidence.
Deloitte will try to find a buyer for the business and has said there are no immediate redundancies or store closures.
Mr Gill added: “Usdaw is providing the support and advice our members require at this very difficult time and we expect the administrators to ensure all staff are treated with dignity and are fully consulted.”
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