Bargain chain Poundland eyes up bigger unit in Preston after outgrowing its store close by
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The discount retailer is eyeing up the former Sports Direct unit on the busy Deepdale Shopping Park after outgrowing its current store on the same complex.
But a planning condition slapped on the shop years ago, barring it from devoting more than five per cent of its floor space to food, is threatening to scupper the deal.
So the retail park's owners have applied to the city council to increase that limit to 15 per cent to allow Poundland to move in. In a statement to the planning department the landlords say: "The proposal is necessary to enable the occupation of the unit by Poundland, who will relocate from a smaller unit elsewhere within the shopping park.
"The proposal will allow Poundland to expand its business operation through the provision of a new and improved store providing a better customer experience and a greater retail offer."
Sports Direct moved out of the corner unit earlier this year to take over part of the old Toys R Us store. They left behind a store which had 1,417 sqm of floor space downstairs and 1,138 sqm upstairs on a mezzanine level - much bigger than Poundland's current store.
The budget group, which once had the motto "Yes. Everything's £1," has only recently extended its food sales offer nationally to add fresh meat and fish to the frozen lines it already sells. And Poundland is believed to have agreed in principle to relocate to the bigger unit only if the long term restriction on food is improved to 15 per cent.
The company has introduced a new "Cookit" range to help hard-up families with the soaring cost of living. The lines are being rolled out at 350 of its stores this autumn and includes steaks, ribs, bacon, sausages, mince, salmon and cod fillets. It is understood prices range from £1 to £3.50.
If the application is agreed by Preston Council the retailer will be able to offer 385 sqm of floorspace to food sales, which will include both fresh and frozen. The company says it has had initial talks with planning officials and believes the application would be acceptable in principle.
"Poundland's current unit is now too small for them to sell their full retail offer and serve their existing customers," says the planning statement. "There is an opportunity to provide a modern fit-out and stock a wider range of goods.
"Poundland currently has a store which is trading well at Deepdale. They need the flexibility to sell food and drink. This would be ancillary to their main non-food sales and focus. But it is an additional element that customers have appreciated as it introduces value items."
Poundland has one other store in Preston - in the Fishergate Shopping Centre. It has 13 more stores across Lancashire including four on the Fylde Coast and others in Lancaster, Morecambe, Chorley, Blackburn, Accrington, Colne and two in Burnley.