Midland retail giant Poundland has opened its 600th store a short walk away from its roots – after being boosted by growing sales from Britain’s wealthy.
The Midland retail giant which traces its roots back to Bilston Market, returned to the region to open the milestone store.
The firm, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, continued to grow through the recession and now employs about 14,000 people.
But its chief executive said it was set far to continue its rise in times of economic growth – aided by the fact that more than £1 out of every £5 it brings in comes from the highest echelons of society – the A and B demographic.
The growth comes from traditional high street sales – the firm is yet to launch an online operation – but Poundland chief Jim McCarthy told the Post it was in good hands.
“Twenty-two per cent of our customers are AB, so I think value is universal,” he said.
“The internet tells everyone where value can be obtained, which helps us. Online shopping is growing at double-digit rates every year and we will bring an e-commerce site to market at some time.
“We have spent two or three years dedicated to building an online offer . There’s no date set on that but it will be coming.”
He added: “We have grown at times of high growth and low. The difference now, after the recession, is customers universally expect low value.
“The recession was so long that shopping for value just became what people do. But in good times, people make more shopping trips, so it is good for us.”
The Bilston store marks a return to the retailer’s original roots on the town’s market, where founder Steve Smith sold items in the 80s before branching out into bricks and mortar stores.
The Bilston store will create 20 new jobs, as a 14,000-strong workforce continues to grow .
In terms of present trading, Mr McCarthy said selfie sticks and cocktail bowls were selling well.
He added: “We started in 1990 in the Midlands and we have made strides over the year but it is great to have the 600th store back in the Midlands, the home of Poundland.
“We are going at 60 stores a year now. It is really about amazing value that Poundland brings at the price point of one pound.
“We have never changed the price in 25 years and we won’t do.”
Poundland turned over £1.1 billion last year and employs about 350 people at its head office in Willenhall and nearly 1,000 more in distribution in the region.
The business has about five million customers a week and sources 70 per cent of its products in the UK.
Mr McCarthy said that while the basic premise meant it would only stock items where it could generate a return for £1, its raison d’etre remained solid.
He said the longevity of Dollar Tree in the US showed it had mileage. He said: “Suppliers know we are going to sell at the price point so they only offer things they and we can make money off.
“We have 200 products going and 200 new products coming in every week.”