best tracker ‘Another nail in the coffin’ cry shoppers as major discount store with 800 locations closes branch after just six months – Techss

‘Another nail in the coffin’ cry shoppers as major discount store with 800 locations closes branch after just six months

A MAJOR discount retailer with over 800 locations has abruptly closed store for good after just six months.

Poundland has shut down its location in Nelson, Lancashire, after taking over the ex-Wilko store in September last year.

Poundland took over 71 ex-Wilko stores last year

The store which is located at Pendle Rise shopping centre, closed for good yesterday, March 23.

A spokesperson for Poundland told local news outlet The Lancashire Telegraph that the decision was due to being “unable to agree on a long-term lease” to keep the store trading.

It added that it was “as disappointed as customers and colleagues” to be closing and “expects to be able to find roles for staff at nearby locations.”

Shoppers have been taking to social media to share their frustrations about the loss of the store.

One person said: “Another nail in the coffin for the town.”

A second person wrote: “Poor direction from business CEO.”

While a third commented: “Nelson is dead in the water now!”

In September last year, Poundland stepped in and snapped up 71 ex-Wilko stores when the popular discounter fell into administration.

At the time the retailer said it would look to “prioritise” existing Wilko workers for roles when the shops are opened.

Just weeks later it announced that it was ready to reopen ten of the ex-Wilko stores as Poundland and said it aimed to open the rest by the end of 2023.

The retailer opened more locations in November and December and by Christmas 2023 had all the ex-Wilko sites up and running as Poundland.

However, since the raft of openings, some Poundland stores, much like its Nelson location, have shut down, to the disappointment of locals.

At the end of last year, it pulled the shutters down on its branch at the Chineham Shopping Centre near Basingstoke.

A spokesperson for the retailer, said at the time the site was closing after it was unable to renew the lease.

This was followed by the closure, of its Colwyn Bay branch in January.

The bargain retailer also pulled the shutter down on its shop in Galashiels, Scotland, at the end of February.

Residents of Glashields branded the closure “absolutely ridiculous” with one shopper saying the loss of the shop was “hitting the poorest.”

Shoppers in Ipswich were also fearing the loss of their Poundland branch, but a last-minute deal with the landlord meant the shop could remain open.

Another nail in the coffin for the town

Social Media user

Speaking at the time a spokesperson said: “We’ve been working hard behind the scenes with the landlord and are pleased that we’ve managed to secure an agreement that will keep the store open.”

The popular discounter just recently announced that it is set to make another major change, which is good news for shoppers.

Between now and August 2024 the retailer is giving makeovers to 150 of its existing stores.

It’s part of a huge new makeover project that the chain is calling “Project Evo” and some renovations have already been completed.

Locations in Manchester, West Midlands and Leeds have already been refurbished and there is more to come.

After the alterations, all the stores will offer more baby and kids clothing for parents on a budget.

The introduction of chilled food will give shoppers the chance to pick up items from Poundland’s popular frozen food ranges.

Shoppers will also be able to pick up Poundland’s £3 meal deal in each location.

What is happening with other retailers?

A lot of changes are taking place right now on the high street, with rising costs, and lower shopper footfall in physical stores forcing retailers to change the way they operate.

Other retailers such as Boots and Marks and Spencer have been opening and closing branches as they look to adapt to the changing retail environment.

Just this month Boots has announced that it will be closing a total of nine sites, as part of its wider plans to get rid of 300 locations.

These closures will see the retailer’s total shops reduced from 2,200 to 1,900.

This has upset a lot of locals in the affected towns, however, the health and beauty chain has said where stores are closing there is an alternative shop less than three miles away.

Back in 2022 Marks and Spencer announced its plans to shut 67 “lower productivity” stores as part of a five-year plan to shake up its branch portfolio.

M&S, which runs 405 stores across the country, has since shut down locations in Manchester, Swindon and Birmingham.

In addition to this, 40 M&S clothing stores closed between November 2016 and July 2023.

However, it is not all bad news for the retailer as in January 2023, it announced it would open 20 more stores over the financial year.

At the same time, it said it’s opening 104 new “bigger and fresher” food stores.

In the last 12 months, it has opened 22 sites including in Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester.

Argos has also been slimming down its branch portfolio and focusing on opening more locations inside Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

It closed 42 UK shops, including all 34 of its branches in the Republic of Ireland last June.

However, some retailers are thriving and looking to expand, despite the difficult trading conditions.

Primark recently confirmed plans to open new branches and invest and renovate more than a dozen of its existing shops.

Meanwhile, Asda is massively expanding its portfolio of smaller Express stores, with plans to open 110 new stores.

Why are retailers closing stores?

RETAILERS have been feeling the squeeze since the pandemic, while shoppers are cutting back on spending due to the soaring cost of living crisis.

High energy costs and a move to shopping online after the pandemic are also taking a toll, and many high street shops have struggled to keep going.

The high street has seen a whole raft of closures over the past year, and more are coming.

The number of jobs lost in British retail dropped last year, but 120,000 people still lost their employment, figures have suggested.

Figures from the Centre for Retail Research revealed that 10,494 shops closed for the last time during 2023, and 119,405 jobs were lost in the sector.

It was fewer shops than had been lost for several years, and a reduction from 151,641 jobs lost in 2022.

The centre’s director, Professor Joshua Bamfield, said the improvement is “less bad” than good.

Although there were some big-name losses from the high street, including Wilko, many large companies had already gone bust before 2022, the centre said, such as Topshop owner Arcadia, Jessops and Debenhams.

“The cost-of-living crisis, inflation and increases in interest rates have led many consumers to tighten their belts, reducing retail spend,” Prof Bamfield said.

“Retailers themselves have suffered increasing energy and occupancy costs, staff shortages and falling demand that have made rebuilding profits after extensive store closures during the pandemic exceptionally difficult.”

Alongside Wilko, which employed around 12,000 people when it collapsed, 2023’s biggest failures included UK Flooring Direct, Planet Organic and Tile Giant.

The Centre for Retail Research said most stores were closed because companies were trying to reorganise and cut costs rather than the business failing.

However, experts have warned there will likely be more failures this year as consumers keep their belts tight and borrowing costs soar for businesses.

Last year, around 14% of insolvencies were in retail businesses, according to official figures.

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