JTF Store opening

Source: JTF

A JTF pictured before the collapse of the chain last year

Poundstretcher has begun converting stores to JTF, after rescuing the collapsed discount chain from administrators in September.

A Poundstretcher and Pet Hut in Margate, one of the variety discounter’s larger stores, is among the first to be rebranded.

The store is now “bigger and better”, a member of staff told The Grocer. It is said to have gained more home, garden and DIY lines, a core part of JTF’s range.

The conversion is not Poundstretcher’s first attempt to revitalise stores with a new banner. Since 2018, a number have traded as Bargain Buys, the Poundstretcher subsidiary that last year bought JTF Mega Discount Warehouse from administrators.

The deal gave Poundstretcher’s owners JTF’s intellectual property rights along with licence to operate nine of the chain’s 12 stores, which began reopening within weeks.

It followed the closure of all 12, located in retail parks across the Midlands and north of England, last summer, as exclusively revealed by The Grocer at the time.

The Margate conversion was referred to in a LinkedIn post by a store manager, who also said he had just received notification of his redundancy by telephone while driving to the store.

“Not how my Monday was supposed to go… took a phone call whilst driving to Margate for Poundstretcher to JTF conversion,” he wrote, adding the hashtags: “#redundancywithimmediateeffect, #jobhunting, #raisingaglasstomycolleaguesaffected.”

The manager had previously worked at JTF since 2013.

It is not clear whether or how many other Poundstretcher staff are affected by redundancy. The company did not respond to The Grocer’s enquiries.

Poundstretcher is in an ongoing ‘company voluntary arrangement’ restructuring process designed to turn around the business by cutting costs.

Sky News reported earlier this month that Poundstretcher’s controlling shareholder Aziz Tayub was exploring a sale of the business following the success of the CVA, which was launched in June 2020.

Interpath Advisory, Poundstretcher’s restructuring advisor, confirmed this week the CVA was ongoing and said it was not aware of recent redundancies as part of the process.