Source: Poundland

A former Wilko trading as Poundland in Southport

Poundland has closed nine former Wilko stores within months of opening them, as part of a “constant review” of its estate.

A Poundland spokesman said affected staff had been offered roles at nearby stores in all cases.

Poundland bought the option to take control of the leases to 71 stores from administrators for Wilko last September.

Poundland then began reopening them under its own fascia within weeks, having said it would offer jobs to former Wilko workers. By mid-December it had reopened 64 of the stores and recruited 960 former Wilko workers along the way, including store assistants and managers.

However, the number of former Wilko stores trading as Poundland has now shrunk to 55, following recent closures in Alfreton, Bishop’s Stortford, Ealing, Eccles, Ellesmere Port, Hillsborough, Jarrow, Nelson and Stafford.

The spokesman said the store in Stafford had been replaced with a new ‘destination’ Poundland in a nearby retail park, while the one in Nelson, Lancashire, had closed due to council plans to knock down and redevelop a shopping centre.

On the others, he said: “As you might imagine, Poundland’s store portfolio is under constant review and that review led to those particular closures.”

Poundland’s estate grew by 50 stores to 873 in the quarter to 31 December 2023, and then shrank to back 864 in the following quarter.

Revenue in the quarter to 31 March 2024 was up 4.5% year on year to €458m, while like-for-like sales were up by 2.8%.

The latest trading update said sales had taken a hit from a switch to sourcing clothing and general merchandise at group level through Poundland parent Pepco. It said the transition was largely over and trading should improve in the months ahead.

B&M agreed to take on the leases of 50 former Wilko stores in the break-up of its estate. However, B&M took a slower approach than Poundland to reopening them, saying in November that they would be converted steadily over the next 12 months.

In a trading update last week, B&M said former Wilko stores to have reopened were performing ahead of expectations.