Poundland to put 100 stores into "temporary hibernation"
The company has also placed 250 of its staff on furlough, which means 80% of their salaries can be paid by the UK government. That said, the staff who work in the closed shops will be asked to transfer to nearby locations if possible, especially given that some staff in those nearby stores are self-isolating at home due to the pandemic.
The closures are happening largely in areas where two stores are in close proximity to each other or in shopping centres that are mainly closed and that would have found it difficult to stay open just to allow Poundland to continue trading.
The move follows the government ordering all non-essential stores to close and while Poundland sells categories that are deemed essential, overall footfall to shops in certain locations has plummeted to a mere trickle.
MD Barry Williams said: “People’s buying patterns are naturally changing as they stick to the government’s advice to stay at home and this is having an impact. The measures we’re taking, such as putting some stores into hibernation, will help us better serve communities from the majority of stores that remain open during this period of disruption.”
The retailer has 860 stores in the UK and Ireland and as well as a large number of discretionary budget items, it also sells groceries and important household goods such as cleaning products.
The company has prospered in recent periods on the back of adding budget clothing to its overall offer, although this is unlikely to be the priority for most shoppers at present.
Earlier, the company also responded to criticism of the fact that its stores remained open and asked those complaining to calm down.
“We sell food and other essentials like household cleaners, toiletries and pet food. In fact 70% of what we sell is classed as essential by the government,” it said. “Those that shop with us already know that and, we know from their messages, they’re grateful we’re still there for them.
“But there’s just one or two noisy souls who’ve been chuntering away all week.
“They’re a bit steamed up that we’re open and think Britain should now be at Waitrose. (Respect Waitrose, we love what you do, this ain’t about you).
“Well, respectfully, we’d like to ask the chunterers, to pipe down a little.”
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