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Two Northern Ireland Poundworld stores set to close with loss of 33 jobs

Retail NI chief Glyn Roberts
Retail NI chief Glyn Roberts
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Two Poundworld stores in Northern Ireland have been included in the latest cull announced by administrators yesterday.

Outlets in Belfast and Newtownards were named on a list of 40 UK stores due to close by next Tuesday, with the loss of 534 jobs.

A total of 33 of Poundworld's 188 staff in Northern Ireland will be put out of work - 18 in Newtownards and 15 in Belfast.

It leaves 10 outlets around Northern Ireland where 155 jobs are still at risk.

Poundworld is owned by TPG Capital. A total of 5,100 were employed across 335 stores in the UK when the beleaguered retailer entered administration. It brings to 1,797 the number of people made redundant since administrators from Deloitte were appointed on June 11, 2018.

Joint administrator Clare Boardman said yesterday that discussions are continuing with interested parties for the potential sale of part, or parts, of the remaining business.

Two potential rescue deals have failed to date, including one from Poundworld's original founder, Chris Edwards, who had offered to take over around half of the discount goods stores.

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"We would like to thank all the employees for their continued support and commitment during this difficult time," said Ms Boardman.

"We are keeping staff appraised of developments as they happen."

Chief executive of Retail NI, Glyn Roberts (above), described yesterday's announcement as "a loss". However, he said it did not signal the beginning of the end for the high street.

"Any loss in the retail sector is always a blow," he said. "Whether that's a company like Carpetright or a discount retailer, it has an impact on the surrounding businesses.

"However, this is not the beginning of the end for the high street. Under any restructuring there will always be casualities."

He added that the discount retail sector in particular had become extremely competitive.

"My thoughts are with the 33 staff and I would be hopeful that they will find full employment elsewhere in the retail sector," he said.

Yesterday's announcement was the third by the administrators in the space of two weeks.

An initial announcement for 25 stores was made on July 10, followed by 80 store closures on July 13. The latest cull was the first to feature outlets in Northern Ireland.

Belfast Telegraph