Poundland Wilko Southport

Source: Poundland

A former Wilko store in Southport, now trading as Poundland

Poundland has yet to reach an agreement with landlords over 15 former Wilko stores it hoped to reopen under its own brand.

The variety discounter struck an agreement with administrators for Wilko in August, enabling it to take on the leases of 71 of the collapsed homeware retailer’s stores.

Poundland has since been negotiating new terms with landlords to reopen the stores under its own brand as quickly as possible.

It opened 56 by 4 November, but no agreement has been secured over 15. The reasons range from landlords not engaging to aerated concrete in the building.

Alongside Poundland’s reopening of Wilko stores, the retailer has offered jobs to over 700 former Wilko workers, having said it would prioritise them.

Despite the lack of agreement with landlords over 15 stores, Poundland is in its biggest ever quarter of estate growth. The 56 former Wilko sites that have been converted put it on course to have opened 79 stores in the three months to the end of December, when combined with Poundland’s organic space growth.

Rival B&M also struck an agreement with joint administrators at PwC to take on Wilko leases – for 50 stores – and the freehold of one site. In its first-half trading update this week, B&M said the Wilko sites would be converted to its own fascia “steadily over the next 12 months”, supporting a plan to open no fewer than 125 stores in the next three years.

Wilko branded stores are also set to return to the high street this year, as a result of CDS Superstores, owner of The Range, buying the brand from administrators in September.

The deal is set to see five new ‘concept’ Wilko stores open before Christmas, starting with two, in Plymouth and Exeter.

Wilko fell into administration in August, leading to the loss of about 12,000 jobs and the closure of all 400 of the chain’s stores.