The future of soft discounter Kwik Save remains in doubt despite a cash injection by an Irish property development and investment company.

Last week, Howard Holdings spent in the region of £70m on a majority stake in the troubled retailer, prompting speculation that the 229-store chain could be the subject of a wholesale property sell-off.

One source close to the retailer told The Grocer Howard Holdings was more interested in Kwik Save's property portfolio than the business itself.

"My understanding is that Howard Holdings is leaning towards a break-up operation," he said. "Apart from a serious cash injection, Kwik Save needs a massive marketing exercise to win back all the customers that it has lost, and I don't believe Howard Holdings has the clout or the will to do it."

However, others said a programme of store sell-offs was unlikely, since Kwik Save has said it will be appointing a new CEO and chairman. In addition, most stores in prime locations have already been snapped up by others.

"I believe that Howard Holdings has a view to help Kwik Save trade out of its current predicament, and move the business forward," said one industry insider. "There is definitely still room in the market for this kind of discount offer, and with the right kind of help it can survive and trade well, as it has done before."

Communication between the Kwik Save management and its team of store managers has been minimal, according to a company insider, who said she had heard no news from senior management for weeks.

Cork-based Howard Holdings is involved in €4bn worth of projects in the UK, Ireland and continental Europe.

It owns Coventry airport, is developing a €360m hotel, golf and villa complex in Majorca, a shopping centre in Rome and a number of projects in Poland and South Africa.