Bailiffs have been sent into a number of Store Twenty One branches after the value chain failed to pay rent.
In the past fortnight at least two landlords have turned to bailiffs in an attempt to recover money owed.
One source in the property industry told Drapers: “They are consistently paying their rent late. People are so fed up of them, there’s only so much people can take before they start to bailiff them.”
It is understood the problems with rent are part of wider financial difficulties, as losses have grown over the past two financial years.
In its latest financial results filed at Companies House, sales at Store Twenty One fell 7.4% to £99.4m in the year to March 31, while pre-tax losses widened to £19.9m as a result of the economic climate. The previous year, the business sustained a loss of £3.3m.
The retailer has shuttered 20 unprofitable shops over the past year and plans to close a further 20 of its current 200-store portfolio. Its property team is understood to have been reduced from three to just one.
The source told Drapers that Store Twenty One was likely to enter administration “soon, and go quickly”.
Freddie George, analyst at investment bank Seymour Pierce, explained: “The company has been in trouble for some time. The problem you’ve got, a little bit like with New Look, is that Primark is very hard to compete against because [Store Twenty One] hasn’t got as much critical mass.”
A spokesman for Store Twenty One declined to comment.
The value chain began life as Quality Seconds, and then QS, but was rebranded as Store Twenty One when it was acquired by Indian textiles group Grabal Alok in 2007.
Maureen Hinton, retail analyst at Verdict Research, said the retailer’s problems were indicative of wider issues affecting the sector: “The whole point of the value sector is you need to drive through very high volumes to keep the price down, but the smaller players can’t drive enough volumes to improve the proposition or keep the prices down.”
George added: “If you are just focused on value and you can’t offer good fashion as well, then you’re going to lose out. You will have to continually lower your prices, but that eats into margin and at this level there isn’t as much margin to play with.”