Monday, June 24, 2024

Shoppers ‘raging’ as discount chain with 800 stores to close another shop

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SHOPPERS are “raging” as a discount store has announced it is closing another shop later this month.

Poundland is set to shut its branch in Lowesoft’s North Quay Retail Park in East Suffolk on May 22.

Poundland plans to close a host of its 800 sites across the UKCredit: Getty
Closing down sign in a boarded-up shop windowCredit: Getty

It comes after the bargain retailer shut its outlet in Chadwell Heath on the outskirts of East London on Wednesday amid plans to close a host of its 800 sites.

Referring to the Lowestoft closure, a spokesman for Poundland said: “The store is closing as we’ve been unable to agree new lease terms.

“We know that will be disappointing to colleagues and customers alike.  

“We will do all we can, as we do whenever we close a store, to find alternative roles for colleagues.”

Writing on Facebook, one local wrote: “Absolutely raging.”

Another said: “Such a shame.”

A third added: “That sucks – just as the bridge is nearly ready, so easier for people to access like me who walk.”

A former staff member said: “And to think I used to work there up till 2021 and left as was always told there wasn’t any more hours going.

“Glad I got out when I did now instead of getting made redundant.”

Poundland in Jarrow closed for good after it was converted from a former Wilko on April 20.

Five ways to save money at Poundland

The chain has shut down nine former Wilko locations just months after bringing them back to life.

The discount retailer took on 71 new locations when its rival fell into administration last year.

Poundland also closed its store in Colwyn Bay, Wales, on January 5 and a branch in Basingstoke on December 31.

EXPANSION PLANS

But the closures come amid major expansion plans for the retailer.

The retailer did open up 80 stores in the last quarter of 2023.

Since then new stores have opened in Perry Barr, Leith, Biggleswade, Bridgwater and Norwich.

Earlier this month, a new store opened up in Wandsworth, London.

The popular discounter has around 800 branches across the UK, and it is giving a makeover to 150 locations.

Many stores are getting additional features such as chilled food ranges and baby and kids clothing sections.

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

This includes sites in Urmston, Greater Manchester, Wolverhampton, West Midlands and Leeds Crown Point.

In total, 150 stores will receive makeovers by August 2024 – we have the full list.

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.

Retailers closing stores in 2024

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 are also taking a toll, and many high street shops have struggled to keep going.

Here’s a list of all the big-name brands closing stores this year:

  • Argos – The brand announced plans to close 100 standalone UK branches last year as it looks to move away from the high street and focus on expanding its presence in supermarkets.
  • B&Q – The chain has over 300 shops across the UK, so chances are you have one near you, but some stores have closed in recent months.
  • Boots – The health and beauty chain announced that it would be closing 300 stores last July. Closures are ongoing and this will see the retailer’s estate reduced from 2,200 to 1,900 shops.
  • Clintons – Clintons mulled plans to close 38 shops in a bid to avoid insolvency late last year. We’ve listed the stores affected.
  • Costa Coffee – The caffeine giant has around 2,000 sites nationwide, so chances are you’ll have one near you. The chain has shut the doors to dozens of its sites recently. We’ve revealed which stores are due to close this year.
  • Iceland – The supermarket has more than 900 stores but closed nearly two dozen sites in 2023, and more selected shops are due to shut.
  • Lidl – The supermarket, which has 950 stores, is changing up shop locations, which has meant that some stores have to close. But the retailer is also looking to open 12 new supermarkets.
  • M&S – M&S, which runs 405 stores across the country, has been closing a string of branches across the country in a blow for shoppers. It’s not all bad news, though, because the chain also has big plans to open dozens of new shops as well.
  • Trespass – The firm announced in July last year that it was closing six branches, but more are on the way.
  • WHSmith – The retail giant, which runs over 1,100 stores, has shuttered eight stores since March 2023, but more are coming.

What else is happening on the high street?

The face of the high street is changing at a rapid rate leaving some town centres almost unrecognisable.

Since the shops shut down during the pandemic many people took to shopping online and have continued with that trend.

This has left many high street retailers with a much lower footfall meaning that having physical stores is no longer viable.

This coupled with the rising cost of living and increased rents has seen some big-name retailers vanish altogether.

In February this year, the iconic health and beauty chain Body Shop fell into administration, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk.

Seven stores closed immediately and since then 75 more closures have been announced.

We have the full list of sites that have been earmarked for closure.

Elsewhere retailers such as Boots and Marks and Spencer are taking drastic action and shaking up their portfolio of stores in a bid to survive.

M&S, which runs 405 stores across the country, shut down locations in Manchester, Swindon and Birmingham between August and November last year.

However, it also opened up several new locations in November, including Lakeside and the Trafford Centre.

It is all part of the retailer’s five-year plan to ensure it has the stores in the best locations possible.

We have the full list of M&S store openings and closures – see if yours is on the list.

Boots has also been closing down branches, it started in 2020 when it shut down 48 opticians with the loss of 4,000 jobs.

Since then it has been closing locations up and down the country, leaving a wake of disgruntled locals behind it.

Some shoppers have reported “queues out of the door” at alternative pharmacies, following the closure of their local Boots.

However, Boots has said that it is only closing premises where there is an alternative within three miles.

We have the full list of Boots stores that have already shut and those that have been earmarked for closure – is yours on the list?

This month, 14 stores will be exiting the high street, as 14 retailers including M&S and Costa will pull the shutters down on locations for the final time.

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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