Pound stores quit shared internet plan

A TRAILBLAZING online retail site set up by two discount chains has collapsed after the partners fell out over its strategy.

Poundworld said it was pulling out of the venture with Steve Smith, founder of rival Poundland. Picture: TSPL

Poundworld said it was pulling out of the venture with Steve Smith, founder of rival Poundland.

The site, Poundshop.com, was launched in February after six months of talks between the parties concluded there was strong public demand for the first online single price-point website.

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But family-owned Poundworld, which set itself up in 2004 after rebranding itself from Everything’s £1, said yesterday it was withdrawing from the joint venture to focus on setting up its own site later this year.

Poundworld said it had been a joint decision with Smith, citing “a failure to reach a shared vision for the online store”.

The company, based in Wakefield, said in a statement that the original agreement regarding Poundshop.com saw it committed to lending its branding to the site, to supply stock and provide product images for the website.

It said other aspects of managing the business, from operations to customer service and marketing, were led by Smith, right. But Poundworld’s continuing concerns “surrounding the operations, online trading, web platform and marketing of the site has resulted in a mutual agreement to dissolve the partnership”.

The joint venture was launched in the same month that Poundland floated on the London stock market.

Smith has had no relationship with Poundland for several years.

Chris Edwards, junior trading director at Poundworld, commented yesterday: “A mutual and constructive decision has been made by both parties for Poundworld to end its association with the Poundshop.com brand.

“We are still committed to online and Poundworld is putting plans in place to go it alone with our own online venture.

“By doing so, this will enable us to have full control over all aspects of the business, ensuring that the site reflects our ongoing brand values and strategy. We wish Steve every success for the future.”

Smith was unavailable for comment. Poundworld has more than 200 UK stores and employs more than 4,000. Single price-point retailers have proved increasingly popular with the public in the recession and extended period of austerity that followed the financial crash.