Poundworld founder Chris Edwards is launching a new discount chain – and has ambitious plans to open 100 stores within a year, Retail Week can reveal.
Edwards and a number of his former senior Poundworld colleagues, including property director Mark Ward, have reunited to form One Below.
Property sources told Retail Week that One Below is “actively seeking locations across the UK” and is “cherry picking” former Poundworld stores as it seeks to quickly build a sizeable portfolio.
Edwards is thought to have instructed property agents at Francis & Co to help the business acquire stores.
One Below aims to launch its first tranche of shops in January and open further units at a rate of four stores per week during 2019.
The move marks a bold return to value retailing for Edwards, who founded Poundworld in 1974.
He sold the business to private equity firm TPG Capital for £150m in 2015.
But the discounter slumped into administration in June, with the loss of around 5,000 jobs.
Poundworld blamed its collapse on “high product cost inflation, decreasing footfall, weaker consumer confidence and an increasingly competitive discount retail market”.
Edwards had sought to mount a rescue bid, but failed in his efforts to buy the business from administrators Deloitte.
At the time, he claimed to have tabled a “credible” bid to save 186 of its 335 stores and around 3,000 jobs.