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Poundland’s Acquisition of Fultons Foods Will Accelerate Frozen Program

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British variety store chain Poundland has acquired Fultons Foods, a north of England frozen food retail specialist, in a move that will help gear up the Willenhall, West Midlands-headquartered company’s transformation program.

The popular discount retailer has been working closely with Barnsley, Yorkshire-headquartered Fultons Foods for 12 months developing its frozen and chilled food range and building a distribution network to serve stores. This partnership has enabled Poundland to roll out such products to more than 70 of its shops and the acquisition will now allow Poundland to significantly extend the offer to another 40-plus stores by December, beginning this month in Luton.

The transaction demonstrates the intent of Pepco Group, the owner of Poundland, to invest in widening the customer offer at its outlets while also improving its operational gearing, primarily through reducing the discount retailer’s in-store rents.  Together these should build both sales and profit, as well as create new jobs.

While the acquisition will allow Poundland to step up its frozen and chilled rollout, it will also permit it to do more than simply almost double the number of stores carrying these ranges.

Alongside extending the range, Poundland plans to invest more than £25 million over the next two years in its chilled and frozen operation to accomplish the following goals:

  • Convert the most appropriate Fultons stores into a full Poundland format, retaining a frozen and chilled offer in each location.
  • Establish Fultons’ Barnsley base as its National Frozen Distribution Centre and build the infrastructure at its Harlow distribution center to bring its frozen and chilled food offer to stores across the south of England.
  • Create around 1,000 full and part time roles through the introduction of frozen and chilled products in stores and the transformation of the distribution centers in Barnsley and Harlow.

Poundland expects to bring its frozen and chilled offer to a further 150 stores in the 2021/22 financial year and to as many as 500 outlets over the next two years, making it an increasingly significant player in the near-£20 billion UK frozen and chilled food market.

About Poundland and Fultons

Since opening its first store in Burton-upon-Trent in 1990, Poundland has built a network of over 800 stores in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, offering top brands and high quality private label.

Nominated by Retail Week as Value Discounter of the Year 2019, the company now has around 18,000 employees who serve over seven million customers every week from Wick to Weymouth, Londonderry to Lowestoft and Holyhead to Hastings.

Fultons trades as both Fultons Foods and Jack Fulton. The company was founded as Frozen Value Ldt by Jack Fulton in 1960. He sold the business in a management buy-in to Kevin Gunter during 1997, who has owned the business outright with partner Karen Rees. Turnover last year was approximately £60 million.

All 800-plus Fultons employees will join the Poundland organization this month with no changes to their terms and conditions. Both Fultons co-owners will remain involved in the business. Rees (pictured above) will become managing director reporting directly to Poundland Managing Director Barry Williams (seen at left). Kevin Gunter (at right) will continue in an advisory role for six months.

“We couldn’t have developed our chilled and frozen ranges without Fultons’ expertise, and now is the right time to move to the next level and bring the team on board,” said Williams. “By combining our experience, we can accelerate our frozen and chilled rollout and bring the amazing value it offers to more of our customers across the UK.”

Rees commented: “For the last 12 months we’ve been proud to partner with Poundland, but are even prouder now that we have become family. We already know the Poundland customer loves our frozen and chilled foods offer – and we’re excited to know our people will be able to play a bigger part in Poundland’s transformation story.”

Gunter added: “After leading the business for 24 years, I’m pleased we’ve been able to agree terms with Poundland who are committed to a renewed period of growth and investment.”