Poundland to place Derry store into ‘temporary hibernation’
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The discount giant has over 800 stores but only 44 are being placed into temporary hibernation from the end of trading tomorrow, Saturday January 9. This also includes the Belfast store at Castlecourt.
A spokesperson said: “As an essential retailer, the vast majority of stores will remain open for business to serve their communities.
The temporary measure reflects 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.
“As before, the move protects the business in the short-term, and helps ensure it’s well positioned once the UK emerges from the pandemic.
“In the first 2020 lockdown, Poundland hibernated around 120 stores in March and was able to start reopening them from the end of May.
“Hibernation allows it to focus colleagues in a slightly smaller number of locations and provide better service to communities in consolidated stores. In the majority of locations where Poundland is hibernating, there is another store that remains open nearby.
“Where appropriate, colleagues in hibernating stores will be placed on furlough, protecting those roles for the future.”
In normal times Poundland serves seven million customers a week and the majority of what it sells, across every aisle, are essential items from household cleaning to healthcare, groceries and pet food.
Any furloughed staff will retain their benefits and employment status and remain valued members of the team. “They’re still family and will be treated as such,” a Poundland spokesperson said.
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 and focus our attention on the majority of stores that remain open to serve their neighbourhoods.
“We hope this lockdown is short and we can re-open our hibernating stores as quickly as possible and we remain grateful for the vital support schemes available to us that help protect jobs.”