1,000 jobs to be created as Poundland acquires Fultons Foods

Poundland has today announced it has acquired Yorkshire headquartered Fultons Foods, the frozen food retailer, in a move designed to help accelerate its transformation programme.

The UK discount retailer has been working closely with Fultons for 12 months developing its chilled and frozen food range and building a distribution network to serve stores.

This partnership has enabled Poundland to roll out frozen and chilled foods to more than 70 of its stores and the acquisition will now enable 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 in Poundland while also improving its operational gearing, primarily through reducing the discount retailer’s in-store rents.

Pepco says that together these will build both sales and profit, as well as creating new jobs in the UK.

Alongside extending the range to a further 40-plus stores in 2020, Poundland plans to invest more than £25m over the next two years in its chilled and frozen operation to:

  • 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 DC 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 chilled and frozen in stores and the transformation of the distribution centres in Barnsley and Harlow.

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

Both Fultons co-owners will remain involved in the business. Karen Rees will become managing director reporting directly to Poundland MD Barry Williams.

Kevin Gunter will continue in an advisory role for six months. All 800-plus Fultons workers will join the Poundland family this month with no changes to their terms and conditions.

Barry Williams, Poundland managing director, said: “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.

“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 said: “For the last 12 months we’ve been proud to partner with Poundland, but even prouder that today we 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.”

Fultons’ chairman, Kevin Gunter, said: “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.

“I’m looking forward to contributing in an advisory role over the next six months.”

Jim Whittaker and Rob Umpleby from Grant Thornton Corporate Finance in Leeds acted as financial advisers to the shareholders of Fultons Foods. EMW (Ian Morris and Daisy Divoka) acted as legal advisers.