Poundland has delivered a major coup by appointing former Tesco finance director Andrew Higginson as its non-executive chairman, taking the business a step closer to a possible stock market listing.

The company, which has performed well during the economic downturn, could be worth up to £500m in an IPO.

However, sources close to the business have played down the prospect of any sale in the next few years.

Higginson had been tipped for the top job at Tesco after Sir Terry Leahy stepped down, but resigned shortly after he was overlooked for Philip Clarke.

It is thought that his appointment could lead to an IPO, with one source close to the company saying: “The business is not ready to be sold, but I think Andrew gives them the IPO option.”

Last night Higginson said: “I’m thrilled to bits. I’m trying to put together a portfolio after being named chairman of N Brown [the online fashion group] last week.”

He added: “My Tesco experience must count for something and hopefully I can bring that to Poundland.”

Retail analyst Clive Black at Shore Capital said: “Poundland has an enormous capacity to grow, and Andrew’s strategic insights and operational capacity will take it to the next level.”

Higginson is a highly respected City figure with significant contacts. He was part of Leahy’s team which turned around the fortunes of Tesco’s, increasing profits from £1bn to £3bn.

He was instrumental in Tesco buying RBS’s 50% stake in Tesco Personal Finance for £950m in 2008 and led its retailing services division, including Tesco Bank.

Poundland saw sales of £780m to April, up 21.6% on last year, with underlying profits of £40m, up 26.5%. The company plans to open 60 new stores next year.

It is owned by the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which bought it two years ago from rival Advent for £200m. Advent paid its founders £50m in 2002.

Higginson replaces Colin Smith, the former head of Safeway supermarkets, who has been Poundland’s chairman for 10 years.

Story taken from Simon Neville’s report in The Guardian on Wednesday 11th July 2012.

A New York Italian-style bar and restaurant is to open at Riverside Retail Park, Coleraine later this year.

The new bar and restaurant is expected to create approximately 35 jobs from Management through to kitchen staff, front of house servers, bussers, hosts and bar tenders.

Work has now commenced on site and the restaurant will be situated in the main car park. The Restaurant Group PLC, the company behind Frankie and Benny’s, expect to open the restaurant in late autumn and the latest addition to the North Coasts restaurant scene will have space for approximately 150 customers and a bar area.

Frankie and Benny’s, which first opened in 1995, now operates from over 170 locations across the UK.

The restaurant is described as a “fun 1950’s Italian American style restaurant” with booth seating, old black and white photography and a bottle-lined bar in each restaurant. It offers a menu including New York style steaks, potato skins, ribs, burgers, pizzas, pastas, house specialities and seafood dishes.

Commenting on the latest addition Mark Thallon Retail Partner at the scheme letting agents TDK commented “we are delighted to welcome Frankie & Benny’s to Coleraine and we expect this coupled with the new adjacent 2,000 sq.ft. coffee shop pod will make Riverside Retail Park an even more attractive location for shoppers. It is hoped that the addition of further catering facilities will complement the existing restaurant offering and encourage people to stay longer at the scheme”

“We are also working hard with the landlords to add further occupiers to the Park and it is hoped that additional announcements will be made in the near future. These additional jobs are obviously much needed in the Coleraine borough particularly in the current economic climate.”

Willenhall-headquartered Poundland has reported record results with turnover up 21.6 per cent to £780m as it opened 62 new stores, taking its portfolio to 389 at the year end.

Underlying EBITDA (earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) at the discount retailer was £40.1m – up 26.5 per cent.

The company said it served more than four-million customers a week in the 53 weeks ended 1 April 2012, compared with about 3.5 million in the previous year.

Poundland expanded in Europe during the period with nine new stores in the Republic of Ireland trading under the “Dealz” fascia.

Chief executive Jim McCarthy said: “Poundland continues to offer amazing value to more than four million customers every week. Our strong sales and volume increases demonstrate that customers recognise the exceptional value for money that Poundland offers.

“Our fixed price makes it easy for families to budget as they can see how much they’ve spent, before they get to the checkout. We are excited about the year ahead as we continue our rapid expansion.”

Poundland is on track with its growth strategy to open at least 60 new stores in the current financial year, together with a new south eastern distribution centre. In the process, the company said it will create up to 2,000 jobs.

Since the year end the retailer has opened 22 new stores, including four in Ireland. In April, it opened its 400th store in Haringey in London.

The new 200,000 sq ft south eastern distribution centre will open in August at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire. The warehouse will support Poundland’s growth strategy and will be used as a regional facility to service its stores throughout southern England, the discount chain said.

“The UK consumer remains under pressure as a result of the ongoing difficult economic conditions that prevail in the UK and Ireland. Our products are of increasing importance to challenged customers from all socioeconomic groups,” the company said.

“Notwithstanding the challenges of the economy and the competitive environment, Poundland is expected to perform robustly in the coming year.”

In the 2011/12 year net borrowings at Poundland reduced from £34m to £26.1m.

Taken from Edward Devlin of Insider News Midlands on 2nd July 2012

Supermarket Asda has begun recruitment for 450 staff at a new store in Portadown.

The jobs will be both full-time and part-time at the 24-hour store, which is to open in November.

It has previously been reported that the development would create 350 jobs.

Employment Minister Stephen Farry welcomed the recruitment, saying it was “good news for jobseekers across mid-Ulster”.

“This is a substantial number of jobs being created by an international company and is excellent news for the local economy,” Mr Farry said.

“Asda deserves praise for their commitment to not only create jobs but invest in staff too.”

The Portadown store will be Asda’s 17th supermarket in Northern Ireland and will bring its total NI workforce to just under 5,000.

Taken from BBC website on 2nd July 2012.

Discount retailer Dealz which is owned by the UK based retailer Poundland is continuing to aggressively expand into the Irish retail market. Having opened their first Irish store in Sept 2011 Dealz are targeting having 30 stores trading by the end of 2012 and employing in the region of 1,000 people.

The company, which is the largest of the discount retailers, was little known in Ireland until last year when it opened its first Irish shops in Blanchardstown and Portlaoise.

Dealz had originally planned to open six shops by March 2012 but the retailer surpassed that target and is now targeting 30 outlets. Dealz Property Director Craig Bales, said the company had been able to expand very quickly as they had found landlords willing to offer competitive rates. Having well-located and attractive shops is one of Dealz’ objectives. “The stores all have wide aisles and are well-lit,” said Mr Bales. “We invest in our stores to make them pleasant.” The key to Dealz’ success in Ireland is their ability to offer a range of 1,000 branded products at a price point of €1.49.Dealz is backed by the UK discount chain Poundland, which has a network of more than 400 outlets and an annual turnover of nearly €1bn. “Scale is key, we’re a large retailer and we’ve built up a relationship with key brands who know that we respect their products.

TDK are retained by Poundland/Dealz to acquire stores over the entire island of Ireland and have been successful in negotiating in excess of 60 stores both North and South over the past 3 years. For further details of the specific requirement please click on the attached PDF or contact Mark Thallon, Partner, TDK.


Discount retailer Poundland will open at Church Street, on the site of the former Peacocks store this Thursday.

26 new jobs have been created, as the chain opens its 21st store in Northern Ireland.

The new Coleraine store has a wide range of stock including food and drink, health and beauty products, books, DVDs, toys, stationery and pet products.

Heartbeat star Tricia Penrose, actress Gina Ward, will officially open the store, as part of a family fun day on Saturday.

From 11am, Gina will be giving out vouchers for local shoppers to enjoy instore.

On the day £100 worth of Poundland vouchers will also be up for grabs.

Poundland’s Trading Director, David Coxon, says: “We are delighted to be opening our 21st store in Northern Ireland, bringing our unique proposition to the shoppers in Coleraine.

“Poundland offers exceptional value on top branded products to over 4 million customers every week .The £1 price hasn’t changed since we opened our first store 22 years ago. Our customers throughout Northern Ireland love us and we are sure the Coleraine shoppers will too!”

Poundland is Europe’s biggest single price discount retailer and winner of the 2011 Discount Retailer of the Year Award.

Taken from Coleraine Times on Monday 21st May 2012

Discount retailer Dealz is creating at least 300 new jobs in Ireland with the opening of an additional ten stores by the end of its financial year.

Dealz has already created over 300 Irish jobs and has invested over €2m into the Irish economy since it launched here in August 2011.

An integrated part of European discount retailer Poundland, Dealz has opened nine stores across the Republic, including Blanchardstown, Portlaoise, Letterkenny, Killarney, Newbridge, Limerick, Cork, Athlone and Santry.

The expansion plan starts with the opening of a new 5,000 sq ft store in Mullingar, Co Westmeath this week, creating up to 30 jobs. Dealz will also be opening stores in Lisduggan, Co Waterford, Drogheda, and Clonmel later this year.

Mark Thallon from TDK commented: “Dealz will have opened ten stores in Ireland in a relatively short period of time which is testament to their professional team and the quick decision making process. The success of these openings demonstrates to landlords what a positive addition Dealz is, not only as a retailer, but as a footfall driver to local towns”

The ‘single price point’ retail concept is being embraced in the Republic, with discount retailer Poundland opening five stores in just three months.
Europe’s largest single price discount store entered the Irish market earlier this year and has opened five shops under the Dealz banner.
Poundland, which owns 335 shops in the UK, said its Irish stores are already outpunching their British counterparts, with the first two shops in Portlaoise, Co Laois and Blanchardstown, Co Dublin recording 12,000 transactions – marginally above the UK average.
There are now shops in Limerick, Newbridge in Co Kildare and Letterkenny, Co Donegal.
Another three stores are set to open soon and the chain plans to have 20 in Ireland by the end of 2012. It already has 20 shops trading as Poundland in Northern Ireland.
Poundland has been assisted in its all-Ireland onslaught by Belfast property consultants TDK. It believes the Republic could eventually have around 50 of the bargain stores.

Story taken from Belfast Telegraph on Wednesday 21st December 2011. http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/business/business-news/poundlands-new-stores-strike-gold-down-south-16093762.html

THE Outlet Village Banbridge has announced 72 full and part time jobs have been created at the scheme in the build up to Christmas.

Thirty-five jobs are the result of the recent signing of Next Clearance which is opening in early December 2011. The high street retailer has been in shop fit mode at the scheme for the past ten weeks – also employing local contractors to fit out the large mezzanine unit.

The retail village has added Next Clearance, Mamas & Papas, Double Two and Brand Centre to its tenant list in 2011 – and these retailers and many more amongst the 55 stores at the scheme have recruited the additional staff in the build up to Christmas.

“Our retailers are preparing for Christmas by ensuring they are well staffed to cater for the busiest retail period of the year,” stated Chris Nelmes, Centre Manager of The Outlet.

“The opening of Next Clearance at the scheme is a real boost to both our retailers and shoppers in the area. The brand will complement our existing tenants and the sheer scale of the unit will attract shoppers from this area and beyond. Bringing Next Clearance to Banbridge is brilliant for the district.”

The announcement of Next Clearance followed the opening of Mamas & Papas earlier this year and means that the popular brand will join Gap Outlet, M&S Outlet, the Nike Factory Store, Jaeger, Timberland, and Armani Collections as a major anchor tenant at the scheme. The signing is a clear vote of confidence in the scheme, which unveiled new owners and a new management team earlier this year.

Chris continued: “Our retailers are excited by the arrival of Next Clearance and are clearly anticipating it will act as a key footfall driver to The Outlet, alongside our other established anchor tenants. The brand is an excellent addition to our tenant mix, particularly in terms of our family offering, and brings with it a very strong customer base.”

The Next Clearance retail offering will focus on childrenswear, homeware, menswear, and womenswear, and will be drawing clearance stock, sold at discount rates, from their 500 retail units throughout the UK and Ireland. The store is one of the largest leasing deals to take place in Northern Ireland in 2011 and will be the largest Next Clearance unit in Ireland.

The Outlet is the largest dedicated retail outlet centre in Ireland, and is home to over 55 designer and high street outlet stores, including exclusive brands available in no other outlet centre in Ireland. The location, 10 minutes north of Newry, attracts shoppers from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Sterling and Euro currencies are accepted throughout the scheme.

Article taken from Banbridge Leader on Thursday 1st December 2011


Belfast has been voted one of the world’s top destinations for 2012 by an international travel magazine.

The National Geographic Traveller called the city a “treasure” with an “incredible atmosphere”.

Next year is the centenary of the Titanic and Belfast City Council has just announced that the hugely popular Tall Ships will return in 2015.

Other locations on the magazine’s must see list are Iceland, north Columbia, the Volcanoes of Virunga and Oman.

The Titanic Centenary Commemorations are the next high profile event in Belfast, due to start in just a few months time.

When the Tall Ships last came to Belfast in August 2009 they attracted an estimated 800,000 visitors in the four days of the festival.

The National Geographic Traveller’s editor-in-chief, Keith Bellows, wrote of Belfast: “It was great, the food, the incredible atmosphere and don’t take this wrong, in many ways it reminded me of Cuba, what it was like there seven or eight years ago.

“I felt that this place was a treasure that had sort of been preserved, it hadn’t been trampled on by the big foot of tourism and so I really loved its purity.

“You look at where the energy spots are in the world and this is Belfast’s time.”

Particular mention was given to the Belfast Bred walking tour, performed by Kabosh Theatre Company who took Mr Bellows on an ingredient hunt, tracing Northern Ireland’s culinary heritage.

Michael Lavery is one of the actors involved in the tour, he plays the role of a resurrected chef of RMS Titanic.

“Its great for Belfast, to get mentioned by the National Geographic, its going to be an incredible year, there’s lots to see, this is such a fantastic city,” he said.

“I’ve learned so much by doing this, like the man who invented Milk of Magnesia came from Belfast. He lived in a wee house around the corner, so its great being able to point out things like that and see in people’s faces the reaction, but the Titanic year is going to blow them away, its going to be huge for us.”

The accolades don’t end there. The Financial Times has listed Belfast as one of the ‘Top 10 places in the world’ to hold a conference or major event.

The FT says significant investment in Belfast’s tourism, accommodation and transportation infrastructure secured the position as an international conference and events hub, putting us up there with Melbourne, London, Barcelona and Guadalajara.

Gerry Lennon is from Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau.

“This comes on the back of Trip Advisor saying Belfast is the best value UK city break and the Lonely Planet saying you had better get here before the rest of the world comes,” he said.

“This means that our image and reputation as a city break has been transformed, which means we are in a very good position coming into 2012, to capitalise on this.

“Basically though, nobody wakes up and thinks we’ve got to go to Belfast. We have to exploit these accolades, we’ve got to get out there and market our city because we are an excellent destination, we’re great value and now is the time to come to Belfast.”

Story by Natasha Sayee on BBC website 24/11/11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-15872225