Poundstretcher store

Poundstretcher is on an expansion drive after acquiring a string of former Poundworld stores from the landlords.

The discounter had been bidding to buy 200 Poundworld stores including staff before the chain went into administration in June, but could not agree terms, Poundstretcher’s property director Gerry Loughran revealed. The company is now seeking to acquire the 200 sites individually from landlords. 

Seven former Poundworld stores have been reopened as Poundstretchers already, including Newcastle, Chelmsford, High Wycombe, Exeter and London’s Wood Green and Crayford. 

A further 50 are expected to have been opened by Christmas. 

The openings are part of a push to grow the estate from 400 to 600 stores within three years, while also refitting 150 existing stores in a new format, doubling fmcg space. 

In sites already to have the new format, fmcg has grown from representing about 25% of Poundstretcher’s sales to about half, according to Loughran.

Seventy new stores in total are expected to have been opened this financial year, ending next April. It represents a dramatic acceleration on last year, when about 50 were opened and 20 closed. 

“Poundstretcher is one of the oldest discount retailers and had a lot stores for many years on really long leases but we’ve been tidying the estate up over the last few years and closing the loss makers and opening these bigger and better stores now,” said Loughran. 

It comes after Poundstretcher acquired a 500,000 sq ft warehouse in Kirby Muxloe, near Leicester, 18 months ago, providing the capacity to double store numbers, Loughran said. 

The latest stores to have opened include one in Paisley, Scotland, on Thursday last week, and the Wood Green site on 8 September. 

Loughran said: “This year we’ll probably end up somewhere in the financial year opening circa 70 stores and closing about six. So far this financial year we’ve opened 20.

Read more: Iceland agrees to acquire 19 former Poundworld stores

He added: “We’re being very successful in opening the Poundworlds. And we actually have other spaces as well. We’ll be opening different units throughout the UK. The ones that opened recently are former Poundworlds. 

“We’re dealing directly with the landlords.” 

Loughran said Poundstretcher had “always had the capacity” for the expansion drive and that “it was finding the right stores”. 

He added: “We were in to buy 200 stores off Poundworld pre-administration but we couldn’t agree terms so we’re actually pursuing those 200.

”We were looking to acquire the 200 stores leases with employees.” 

On extra space for fmcg, he said: “On the current format we’ve probably doubled the fmcg space that we had before and the sales have probably doubled in terms of our sales mix from probably a low 20-25{%} to half-and-half.