austin cooke poundland

Source: Poundland

Austin Cooke will take on the duties of the job in the ‘enhanced role’ of retail & transformation director

Poundland’s transformation director, who has overseen some of the most dramatic changes at the variety discounter in its 30-year history, is leaving the post.

Mat Ankers is moving to a finance role at parent company Pepco Group, while Poundland retail director Austin Cooke takes on his duties in the “enhanced role” of retail & transformation director.

Ankers has a background in finance, having moved from the post of Pep&Co finance director to head up Poundland’s newly established business transformation team at the start of 2019.

Since then he has overseen what Poundland has called the biggest transformation in its history. It has included the introduction of new multiple price points, expansion of grocery ranges and the introduction of frozen and chilled food, which is rolling out to hundreds of stores.

Since July last year Poundland has also been gearing up to sell online, using a former Cannock store as a fulfilment centre. A pilot of the service is due to launch early this year.

Ankers has also been behind a revamp of Poundland’s estate which saw stores classified as ‘destination’, ‘core’ or ‘convenience’, depending on size, location and breadth of range.

Cooke has been retail director since late 2017 and before that was the group’s MD in Western Europe. He will now lead both retail and transformation teams at Poundland.

“Mat’s done a remarkable job propelling our transformation programmes forwards, and while he will be hugely missed, we knew we only had him for a short time before he stepped back to his group responsibilities,” said a Poundland spokesman.

“Austin has successfully led our retail estate and retail colleagues for the past three years and is taking on an enhanced role leading both the retail and transformation teams.

“The change comes at the right time – our plans continue to be hugely exciting and we’re now beginning to embed some of those key programmes into the business and into our store estate.”