Poundland puts 44 stores into 'hibernation' from Saturday including flagship Edinburgh branch

Poundland is placing 44 stores including a flagship branch on Edinburgh’s Princes Street into “temporary hibernation” amid growing political pressure to close more of the retail sector amid the pandemic.

Poundland opened a large store on Princes Street in Edinburgh in November 2019. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Poundland opened a large store on Princes Street in Edinburgh in November 2019. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The discount chain said that 44 of its 800-plus outlets would close from the end of trading on Saturday.

As an essential retailer, the vast majority of stores will remain open for business to serve their communities, it added.

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The firm said the temporary measure reflected the 80 per cent drop in footfall at some shopping centres and high streets as the various lockdown rules in place across the UK take effect.

There has also been increased pressure to further reduce interaction between people by keeping only the most essential of retailers, chiefly supermarkets and convenience stores, open during the latest lockdowns.

In the first 2020 lockdown, Poundland hibernated about 120 stores in March and was able to start reopening them from the end of May.

As well as the Princes Street branch in the capital, other Scottish outlets affected by the latest move are located in Inverness, Kirkcaldy, Ayr, Dumfries, Glasgow’s Union Street, Falkirk’s Howgate shopping entre and Perth’s St Johns centre.

The firm said that, where appropriate, staff in hibernating stores would be placed on furlough, “protecting those roles for the future”.

Austin Cooke, Poundland’s retail director, said: “We learned valuable lessons during the lockdown in March about how buying patterns change as people stick to government advice to stay at home. Putting a small number of stores into hibernation helps protect them for the long term.”

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