Poundland has been on a bit of a roll lately. The company is undertaking a widespread transformation programme and, last week, it announced the latest new addition: alcohol.
Selected branches will be trialling “shops in shops”, selling a range of branded gin, rum, wine, vodka, lager, cider and even ready mixed drinks, all provided by Bestway Wholesale.
Although drinks won’t retail for £1, the prices are definitely competitive. A four-pack of Carling will cost £4.74, and a bottle of Blossom Hill red wine will be just £5.
The initial trial will take place in three pilot stores in Stockport, Stoke-on-Trent and Cannock, allowing the company to market-test various products ahead of a full rollout in 2021.
This is the latest step in Poundland’s huge transformation project – by far the biggest in the company’s 30 year history. Of course, a single price point store is not sustainable as inflation continuously devalues the pound. The company has responded creatively to this by introducing new ranges at multiple price points and massively increasing its selection of foods by partnering with Fulton Foods to introduce a frozen and chilled range to 60 of its stores. It has also launched a popular new homeware range in all 800 of its stores.
Many companies would be content with cornering the discount market, but Poundland clearly has bigger ambitions for the future. In July, it announced its long term plan to split its business into three distinct types of shop. Under this new model, customers will be able to choose between ‘core’, ‘convenience’, and ‘destination’ Poundland stores, with each catering to a different market and stocking different products to reflect this.
It is too soon to predict whether the alcohol scheme will be a success, but early indications are positive. One of the side effects of the lockdown was a surge in supermarket alcohol sales and, with a second lockdown looking increasingly likely, Poundland are in a perfect position to capitalise. Company trading director Tim Bentley explains the decision to move into alcohol sales:
“We’ve been steadily expanding the ranges we offer customers and moving into beers, wines and spirits is the next logical step. We’re already the go-to destination for our customers for groceries, health & beauty and household products, as well as Pep & Co clothing and homeware, so it makes sense to give them the convenience of adding their drink of choice to their shopping basket.”