The fate of Kwik Save is once again on hold after a court delayed an administration hearing for the second time in as many weeks to give management time to secure a rescue package.

Chief executive Paul Niklas and investor Brendan Murtagh have been given until next Thursday to secure finance to allow Kwik Save to re-emerge as Fresh Express.

The delay has had a knock-on effect on the wind-up petition lodged by creditor Steven Archdeacon, dependent on the result of the administration. "Either Brendan Murtagh has cold feet and his advisers are telling him to get out or there's an alternative motive," said a source close to Kwik Save.

The development means Kwik Save staff will not be paid for at least a week. "Our members face the terrifying prospect of not having any money to support their families," said Usdaw.