Poundstretcher to close more stores following ‘financial review’


FILE PHOTO: A woman waits outside a branch of Poundstretcher near Lewisham high street in London, England.  (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A woman waits outside a branch of Poundstretcher near Lewisham high street in London, England. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

HIGH STREET discounter Poundstretcher will ‘close a quarter of stores’ following a review its finances by KPMG. It has already closed around 30 stores during the Covid-19 lockdown, in some cases permanently where leases have expired, reports said.

The rest of the shops had continued to trade as an essential retailer as they supplied food and household ranges.

Poundstretcher owner Aziz Tayub recently warned that the future of the company depended on a cost reduction strategy. The discounter published its latest full-year accounts at the end of March.

“At the time of approval of the financial statements there are material uncertainties over the outcome of the cost reduction strategy that may cast doubt over the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” Tayub said.

According to reports, the retailer has been closing around two stores weekly since of the beginning of lockdown. Some have closed temporarily because a shopping centre closed, reports said.

Locations of stores to have recently closed, either temporarily or permanently, include St Austell, Pembroke Dock, Wigan, Bletchley, and Grimsby.

As per the latest reports, Poundstretcher turnover had risen 12.2 per cent to £434.6 million but profits slumped from £2 million to a £227,000 loss before tax. However, the retailer added 56 stores in a year.

Since autumn 2018 the company had been opening new stores under the ‘Bargain Buys’ banner, as well as converting a number of existing sites to the new fascia. The plan was to eventually convert the whole estate and attract a new customer base by aligning Poundstretcher more closely with ‘big shed’ discounters such as Home Bargains and B&M.