Original Poundworld founders continue ambitious roll out of new discount chain
Published: 16 May 2019 - Fiona Garcia
One Below, the new discount retail venture launched by Poundworld founder, Chris Edwards and his son, will be opening yet more stores later this week, with a view to reaching their target of 100 outlets across the UK.
Chris Edwards (senior) launched Poundworld from a market stall in Wakefield in the 1970s before selling the business to US private equity conglomerate, TPG Capital in 2014. The new owners moved away from the £1 strategy, selling some items for as much as £5 and, subsequently the business collapsed last summer, making thousands of people redundant.
Maintaining that the discount format is a winner, Mr Edwards and his son, Chris Edwards (junior) launched One Below – selling everything for £1 or less - in March this year with four outlets opening in Rothwell, Kirkstall, Doncaster and Southshields.
The ambitious pair set a target of 100 stores across the country, with plans to open an average of four new outlets every week for thhe first few months. The new brand, which is being independently financed, now boasts 30 branches to date and will open more stores this week, including an outlet in Market Centre in Crewe on Friday, May 17.
One Below sells more than 5,000 products across 10 departments, including groceries, home, health and beauty, baby care, toy, DIY, partyware, craft and gardening at £1 or less, with prices starting from 29p. The chain also carries popular cleaning names such as Zoflora and The Pink Stuff that have gained traction due to use on social media by cleaning guru Mrs Hinch.
At the time of opening One Below’s first four outlets, Chris Edwards (senior) said of the retail operation, “we’ve got to suck it and see if the brand works but, obviously, we think it will or we wouldn’t be doing this to this level.” The format is clearly proving popular, as each new opening is met with queues of customers waiting to get in and the business has now served over one million customers since its doors first opened.
April 27 saw the company open its first store in Greater London, setting up shop in Bexleyheath, with a further four outlets planned for the region by the end of the year, explained Chris Edwards (junior). Each new store creates around 20 new jobs for the area and many of the staff made redundant when Poundworld went under have been re-employed at the new One Below stores.
One Below now operates stores in:
- Argyle Street, Glasgow
- The Forge Shopping Centre, Glasgow
- Crown Point Retail Park, Leeds
- Regent Street Retail Park, Leeds
- Luton, Bedfordshire
- South Shields
- St Helens
The fast-growing business has been on a recruitment drive, hiring new store managers, assistant managers and supervisors, and is also seeking a buying assistant to join its general merchandise buying team.