Is that it, thent for Kwik Save? A once-great discount store, a pioneer in convenience, "reduced", in the words of Withnail, "to the status of a bum".
As M&S and Poundland (see p5) joined the queue expressing an interest in the 32 stores belatedly released to the market by KPMG this week (in addition to the 150-odd stores also up for grabs) it leaves the new FreshXpress with 24 stores to play with. One has to wonder how much 'fresh' produce and 'fresh' thinking it is likely to bring to the market given the very negative publicity that has followed the apparently callous treatment of loyal staff. But as rumours circulated that the new management planned to sell off, for a cool £25m, the 32 other stores it acquired in the £18m pre-pack administration deal maybe that's what they mean by 'fresh'.
There are a lot of questions still to be answered following the collapse of Kwik Save. Why did the judge allow this to drag on so? Winding up petitions and administration hearings were repeatedly cancelled, and it's surely not a coincidence that KPMG's Leeds office was simultaneously involved in dealing with the Leeds United case during this period. It will be interesting to see a copy of the court proceedings.
With banks and the administrators themselves the first to receive reimbursement following the deal, the injustice of the administration system was being felt at first hand by loyal staff, many of whom face bankruptcy. With redundancy terms capped at £300 per week for the 1,000-plus staff who are out of a job, checkout workers should be OK, but store managers are certain to lose out, as will suppliers.
But the biggest question of all to be answered is this: with Kwik Save unable to pay salaries or bills for months now, was it trading insolvently?