Poundworld plans ‘heir to Woolworths’

Discount retailer Poundworld yesterday pledged to create 1,800 jobs as it unveiled a new brand of stores designed to fill the gap left by the closure of Woolworths.

The firm, which has 120 stores across the UK, is growing its Discount UK brand, which sells products priced from 28p to £25, into a national chain by adding a further 15 stores to its 13-strong portfolio.

Buying director Chris Edwards, who founded Discount UK, said: “Woolworths offered variety and value and when it closed we felt we could step into its shoes with a modern multi-price format.”

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In addition, Poundworld, which sells thousands of products from Heinz soup to Fairy washing liquid to toys for a £1 or less, plans to open a further 40 stores over the next 12 months after a 42 per cent rise in sales to £132.9 million in the year to March.

The expansion plans follow moves by larger rival Poundland to expand into the eurozone, starting with debt-ridden Ireland.

Poundworld opened 29 stores in the last financial year and has opened a further 27 stores since the start of April, taking staff numbers to 2,850.

Headquartered in West Yorkshire, it recently bought 15 former Ethel Austin stores, which went into administration in July.

Edwards, whose father, also called Chris, founded Poundworld 37 years ago in Wakefield, said the group plans to more than double its stores to 260 within three years. The firm was founded in 1974 and rebranded as Poundworld in 2004.