Aoife Morgan & Mason Moore | 21 October 2023
DISCOUNT CHAIN One Beyond are considering the possibility of setting up shop in 50 former Wilko stores as part of their plans to expand, according to Retail Gazette.
They have already snapped up two former Wilko sites – with one in Boston, Lincs., and another in Chelmsford, Essex, and are actively in talks of negotiating a third already.
One Beyond have a total of 105 stores at the moment, and are holding discussions with landlords on re-letting the stores, which have officially stopped trading as Wilko.
The chain are hoping to open a total of 10 more stores by the end of this year, as part of their ambition to open their 150th store by November 2024.
Founder of One Below, and former Poundworld chief, Chris Edwards Sr., told The Grocer: “We currently looking at between 40 and 50 more stores. By the time we’ve finished analysing them, we think we’ll have about 25.”
In fact, members of his team had been making visits over to Wilko stores when they were trading for the final times, in order to let then-employees in on the plans.
Chris further added they will re-hire former Wilko employees to work for them: “With staff ready to move in, you can do a very quick turnaround. You change the name, do a little alteration of the racking, send them the stock and they get on with it.”
He noted that a lot of the former Wilko sites will remain unlet from now through to the new year.
There is not a list of stores which the chain are interested in.
But, what is known, is that they are not the only retailer interested in taking over former Wilko shops.
In fact, as we reported when Hinckley’s shop shut down after 28 years, B&M have already snapped up 71 former Wilko sites, while Poundland have taken on 52 of them, including three locally, in Coalville, Melton Mowbray, and Leicester’s Lee Circle.
As well as this, The Sun reported previously that Primark, Frasers Group, TK Maxx, and Poundstretcher are also eyeing up and interested in some former Wilko sites.