• First store under new pound shop format to open within weeks
  • Plans to have 50 stores under new format by end of the year
  • New Poundstretcher boss Gerry Loughran joined from 99p Stores

The owner of Poundstretcher is launching a new pound shop format with plans to have up to 50 stores by the end of the year.

The as-yet-unnamed chain, backed by owner Crown Crest, will sell a range of general merchandise goods similar to 99p Stores.

Five locations have already been lined up with the first store to open within weeks, while Poundstretcher is eyeing high street and retail park locations for more shops. Sites more than 4,000 sq ft and up to 10,000 sq ft are being targeted nationwide.

The move will up the ante as Poundstretcher continues to battle with the likes of Poundland, B&M, Poundworld and Home Bargains in the intensely competitive value sector.

Poundstretcher’s new managing director, Gerry Loughran, previously merchandising and marketing manager at 99p Stores, will lead the roll-out. 

Some Poundstretcher stores could be converted to the new format, but the new fascia will not replace it.

Speaking exclusively to Retail Week, Loughran said he believed there is still a gap in the market for a pound store. Despite the current woes of Poundland, Loughran said: “People still love a bargain and the pound sector is strong.”

Loughran, who joined Poundstretcher a few weeks ago, has been joined at the Huddersfield-headquartered chain by about half a dozen former 99p Stores employees.

99p Stores was sold by founder Nadir Lalani to Poundland last year for £55m

Loughran said there was a “lot of skills left” from the 99p Stores team. “We’ve got the team in place who have all the experience to do it [launch the chain].”

Loughran said he is positive about the prospects for the core Poundstretcher business and is “looking to acquire new and bigger stores”.

Former Poundstretcher boss Ian York left the business in January after 18 months in charge.