Poundland is to take its first steps towards selling online early next year, as it pilots its first home delivery service as part of what it’s hailing as the biggest transformation in its history.
The retailer is to convert one of its three shops in Cannock into an online fulfilment centre. The store will close tomorrow for conversion work to begin.
The move is part of a wider transformation plan by a retailer that, with 850 shops in the UK and Republic of Ireland, has a presence on most high streets. It plans to operate through three types of shop. Destination shops will offer a full range of products including food, beauty and clothing. Core shops offering a broad range of goods will operate on high streets, while convenience shops will encourage shoppers to pop in to make quick purchases. Existing shops will be refurbished and shop Free wi-fi is to be made available in every shop and Poundland will invest in new back office technology through its Oracle ERP programme. Poundland has not sold online before but the new move chimes with a wider shift online as more people did more of their shopping over the internet during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Barry Williams, managing director of Poundland, said: “We’re stepping up to support high streets after the impact of the coronavirus by being customer-focused, people-led and tech-enabled. This is the biggest transformation in our history as we look to secure our future for another thirty years.”
Shops within a shop featuring Poundland’s five-year-old family clothing brand Pep & Co will expand to more than 310 shops, while chilled and frozen food (pictured) will become available in 60 shops. Another yet-to-be revealed shop-in-shop concept will be launched later in the year. The transformation programme, known internally as Project Diamond, is running alongside a strategic shift from a single price retailer to a simple price retailer. Poundland sells three-quarters of its product at £1 but also sells within a range from 50p to £5.
Commenting on the move, Nigel Frith, senior market analyst at asktraders.com, said the move was a “massive step” for Poundland, and warned that with change comes risk. He said: “What if this doesn’t work? What happens if the chain is going to have to make redundancies or cut jobs as a result of the pandemic? All these questions need to be answered and trialed before they offer a full-time delivery service.
“Adding to this, Britons on lower incomes rely on cheaper stores such as Poundland, so launching a delivery service is no use if the brand hikes up their prices to not suit customer satisfaction needs. On the other hand, this is a chance for Poundland to make new jobs as they are going to need drivers to deliver the goods, and with the climate we are currently in that is definitely a positive change.”
The first Poundland shop opened in 1990. Today it is part of the Pepco group, which has more than 2,500 shops across Europe including international Poundland shops that trade under the Dealz brand.