The crisis at Kwik Save looks to have deepened, with a claim from inside the company that some suppliers are no longer delivering products to the retailer, while evidence has emerged of issues relating to the supply of electricity and stationery.

The revelations have prompted speculation the discounter is lurching towards a similar fate to that of Unwins, which went into administration in 2005 after suppliers stopped selling goods to it because bills had not been paid.

The Grocer was contacted this week by one desperate Kwik Save store manager, who said: "I have not received a single delivery since 22 December, and now even store cupboard staples such as bread and sugar are unavailable. Bread suppliers are refusing to deliver. This happened with Warburtons on 30 December and is still ongoing, while British Bakeries has refused to deliver since 1 January."

Kwik Save, which received a fresh cash injection from investors of more than £30m in October, refused to respond to the store manager's specific comments. But a spokeswoman told us: "Some lines, such as tobacco, have reached 100% availability across all stores in recent weeks, and the Kwik Save management is working hard to make a permanent and positive difference across all stores."

When we contacted Warburtons a spokesman confirmed there was "an issue" with Kwik Save, but refused to discuss the matter further. No-one at British Bakeries was available for comment.

Meanwhile, emails passed to The Grocer indicate that stores are being threatened with disconnection by power supplier Scottish Hydro, while stationery supplier CCS McLays has "placed all orders on stop".

The author of the emails - senior facilities manager Brenda Bowland - said any problems with Scottish Hydro had been a mistake on the part of the power company and had now been resolved. She refused to comment on the matter involving CCS McLays.

To find out if product availability problems were widespread, we contacted a number of other store managers but all refused to speak to us. However, one of The Grocer 33's mystery shoppers visited a store in the north west and reported empty shelves and fridges throughout the store.

"We've hardly got anything out," one employee told our shopper. "I suspect it's because we have not paid the bills again."

The Kwik Save store manager who contacted us said the retailer was now asking staff to cut their hours.

Evidence to suggest this was true was found by our mystery shopper, who reported that the store she visited appeared virtually unstaffed, with none of its three checkouts in operation. The only place to pay for the few goods they could buy was at the tobacco kiosk.

TNS Worldpanel figures show that in the 12 weeks to 31 December Kwik Save's market share slumped to 0.2% from 1.5% a year earlier.

The affair was reminiscent of the Unwin's collapse, said Clive Black, analyst at Shore Capital. "Kwik Save is clearly an incredibly vulnerable company. It's a ruthless industry, but manufacturers are usually quite understanding. Business must be exceptionally dire for them not to be delivering."