Shropshire Star

Poundstretcher chain changes hands

The discount retail chain Poundstretcher, which has shops across the West Midlands, is set to be bought by a United States investment firm for an undisclosed sum.

Poundstretcher is getting a new owner

Poundstretcher has 322 stores across the UK, including in Bloxwich, Brierley Hill, Cannock, Hednesford, Kidderminster, Newport, Shrewsbury and Telford. It includes 60 Bargain Buys shops including at Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Fortress Investment Group, the investment firm behind Majestic Wine has agreed to acquire Leicester-based Poundstretcher following outgoing owner Aziz Tayub's retirement.

The acquisition of Poundstretcher, which employs about 4,000, will be entirely funded by equity.

Fortress says that the retailer's nationwide national footprint, strong brand and focus on value offer an attractive opportunity for investment and growth.

Andy Atkinson, the former group commercial director at Morrisons, is joining Poundstretcher as chief executive.

Ahsan Aijaz, managing director and co-head of private equity at Fortress Investment Group, said: "Poundstretcher is an exciting business in a critical part of the UK retail sector, and we recognise its importance to consumers across the country.

"We have long believed in the UK, and the consumer sector, as evidenced by our investments. We have a demonstrated history of investing in sponsored companies to drive growth, increase profitability and job creation – our plans for Poundstretcher are no different. Fortress believes in empowering management teams to deliver their strategy and we look forward to working with the team to invest in and grow Poundstretcher."

Mr Atkinson said: "Poundstretcher is an exciting business with huge potential, in a large, growing and resilient sector. We are committed to being long term stewards of the business, investing to grow Poundstretcher and build on the great work established by Aziz and his team."

Mr Tayub said: "I am very pleased that the Fortress team will be providing the resources and investment needed to take Poundstretcher to its next stage of growth following my retirement. Fortress are well placed to work with the fantastic Poundstretcher team, who I'd like to thank for their hard work and dedication during the 18 years that we've grown the business together, and I look forward to watching and cheering their shared success in the years ahead."

At Majestic, Fortress has increased staff numbers and opened new stores since its purchase in 2019. Earlier this month, Majestic acquired Vagabond Wines out of administration, adding nine wine bars and saving 171 jobs.

Fortress also owns Punch Pubs Group, which has its head office in Burton upon Trent and has 1,241 pubs across the UK.

The investment group was unsuccessful in its attempt to buy the UK supermarket group Morrisons in 2021.

Mr Tayub first took an interest in Poundstretcher in 2007 with his brother via a stake in Brown & Jackson, a quoted company that owned the discount brand and was controlled by Pepkor, the group that now owns Poundland under the name Pepco. He took full control in 2009.

Last year Poundstretcher made pre-tax profits of £6.9 million – down from nearly £9m a year earlier with sales down almost 10% to £246m.

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