Poundstretcher planning return

The Poundstretcher premises on Bishop Street, after a fire gutted the three storey premises. DER2815MC058
The Poundstretcher premises on Bishop Street, after a fire gutted the three storey premises. DER2815MC058

Poundstretcher have said they are now planning to return to their former store on Bishop Street once it has been rebuilt.

The company said, however, that this may be some way off considering the extent of the damage caused to the building by the fire which ripped through it back in mid-July.

Poundstretcher Ltd Company Secretary Martin Collinson said that until the building is rebuilt and ready for re-occupation Poundstretcher still remains committed to opening a new store in Derry.

“We are still trying to find a premises to open on a temporary basis and once the site is rebuilt, which it will be, we will reoccupy it.

“Clearly that is going to take some time we are currently looking at options for a temporary site. There’s a couple of sites that we are looking at quite seriously now.”

It is understood Poundstretcher had previously set their sights on a particular site as a temporary location but that this has since fallen through.

Mr Collinson reiterated that the company remained committed to Derry on both the short and long term.

“It is an important market for us and we need to open here as soon as possible,” he said, adding: “We need to pick a place that has good foot-fall and which we can trade out of effectively.”

In terms of the 15 staff who were employed at the Derry store, he added: “They are still redeployed in other stores at the moment.

“We have been quite fortunate that we have been able to relocate people relatively easily.”

The cause of the fire at the store on Bishop Street meanwhile has yet to be determined.

City Centre Initiative manager, Jim Roddy, has previously said that staff from his office have been working with Poundstretcher’s area manager to find alternative accommodation.

“They have given us specifications of what they would require and we have looked at all the data on what’s available in the city centre,” he said. “There are suitably sized options.”

A number of other businesses in the vicinity were also affected by the fire which gutted the premises after part of the street had to be shut down for a time, with a knock-on effect on traffic flow and foot-fall through the area.

More than 50 fire-fighters had worked for a full 24 hours to bring the blaze under control and prevent it spreading to adjoining properties along the historic terraced row.

Speaking at the time of the fire, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander Colm McGuigan said: “Actually when the first crew arrived it wasn’t very evident what was on fire because the fire was developing behind roller shutters and it wasn’t until we opened up the roller shutters that we were able to see exactly what we faced.

“It’s a three storey building, and with the contents of the building is all very combustible stuff.”

He added that a number of gas cylinders had exploded over a period of two hours.