PowerStore in takeover talks

PowerStore Trading, the southern electrical retail chain, is understood to be in talks to buy some or all of the out-of-town stores of its northern equivalent, Homepower, say industry sources.

Homepower, which is owned by privatised regional electricity companies Yorkshire and East Midlands, has 126 stores and has suffered sustained losses since it was formed in 1993. Trade observers and City analysts expect the imminent closure of the 126-store chain and the sell-off of its superstores.

This would follow hot on the heels of the Rumbelows’ closure which caused 3,000 job losses.

A spokesman for Homepower says: “The situation is clear. The parent companies are considering options for the development of the business.”

Yorkshire and East Midlands have said they would announce a review of the chain in March, and analysts reckon this would include closure if sales showed no improvement. The firms have already written off the value of Homepower, so a closure would not affect the balance sheet.

A PowerStore spokesman denied any knowledge of talks.

Confidential figures from the British Retail Consortium and Touche Ross show poor trading from the electricals sector, with like-for-like sales down six per cent in January.

*Kingfisher has appointed former managing director Eddie Styring as chairman of the chain. He joins Kingfisher Electrical Retailing Limited and will report to Darty’s chief executive, Philippe Frances.

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