Braehead shopping centre owner Intu Properties has warned its shopping centres across the UK may close if it is forced to call in administrators as it remains locked in crunch talks with lenders.

The group, which also owns the Trafford Centre in Manchester and Lakeside shopping centre in Essex, said it has put KPMG on standby as administrator and is negotiating details with lenders as it looks to secure vital breathing space ahead of a deadline on Friday.

Intu is hoping to arrange a so-called standstill agreement on terms of up to 18 months, but said at this stage it is unlikely to be more than 15 months.

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It cautioned that if it cannot reach an agreement and is placed in administration, then without critical up-front funding from its lenders, "there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period".

Intu said: "Notwithstanding the progress made with lenders, Intu has also appointed KPMG to contingency plan for administration.

"In the event that Intu Properties plc is unable to reach a standstill, it is likely it and certain other central entities will fall into administration.

"In this situation, all property companies would be required to pre-fund the administrator to provide central services to the shopping centres.

"If the administrator is not pre-funded then there is a risk that centres may have to close for a period."

Poundland owner Pepco registered a sharp drop in profit when the coronavirus outbreak hit, wiping out what could have been a strong start to the financial year.

Almost all of the company's 2,844 stores have now reopened, with only 1% remaining closed, but the effect of Covid-19 had already taken a significant chunk out of the business.

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In the first six months of the financial year, pre-tax profit dropped by 16% to 89 million euro (£81 million).

But if the cut-off point had only been a moth earlier, Pepco's results could have been very different.

In the five months to February, before the pandemic seriously affected its main markets, profit rose nearly 22% to 116 million euro (£105 million).

Chief executive Andy Bond said: "It is pleasing to report continued strong operational, strategic and financial progress made by all parts of the Pepco Group before the impact of Covid."

He added that the crisis could benefit the firm, as people in financial difficulty looked to discount retailers to do their shopping.

"Looking forward, the consumer outlook remains uncertain and our plans reflect our expectation of a 'new normal' trading environment once we all emerge from the Covid virus," he said.

"However, it is likely that consumer demand for discount retailing will increase in a period of prolonged economic uncertainty, and we are extremely well placed to take advantage of this trend.

"We remain confident that we have the vision, the strategy and the business model to continue to deliver attractive long-term sales and profit growth."

Even though Poundland itself was classed as an essential store in the UK and allowed to keep trading, the company nevertheless shut 130 of its more than 800 sites.

Sales were also down around 40% at the stores that did stay open.

Just 856 of the Pepco-branded stores, which are big in eastern Europe, were open - around 44% of the total - and sales dropped to around 15% of their usual levels for a time.

Online supermarket Ocado has reached its biggest ever market share, while Iceland has matched its all-time record as both benefited from a change in customer behaviour during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ocado has seen sales rise by 42.2% over the past 12 weeks, according to closely followed data from Kantar Worldpanel.

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It gives the online grocer a 1.7% share of the overall market.

Meanwhile Iceland's sales rose by 31.4%, giving it a 2.5% market share as founder Malcolm Walker took control of the business again after buying out his South African partners.