Poundland’s bid to buy a tranche of Woolworths stores has collapsed but the single-price retailer insists it is still on course to open at least 30 new stores this year.

CEO Jim McCarthy said he was no longer pursuing a bid with administrator Deloitte but was hoping to buy a number of stores directly from landlords.

Following the closure of the last remaining Woolworths stores on 6 January, Deloitte is expected to hand any unsold leaseholds back to landlords this month.

Poundland would get better terms from landlords than Deloitte, which is selling the leaseholds under their existing terms, suggested McCarthy.

“It isn’t possible to say how many former Woolworths stores we will end up with, especially as there’s a great deal of retail property available at competitive prices on the high street but we will open more than 30 stores this year,” he said, adding that the programme would create 1,000 jobs in addition to the 1,000 it created last year.

The retailer, which currently has 200 stores, was in a position to expand following strong Christmas sales, said McCarthy. Sales for the five weeks to 4 January were up 24.3% in volume and value on the previous year, while like-for-like sales were up 3.9%.

“Our results for Christmas are very strong, especially when you consider that Woolworths was having a closing down sale at the time,” he said. 

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