Industry Retail
Founded 1974
Founder Christopher Edwards Sr.
Headquarters Normanton, West Yorkshire, England
Number of locations
Products Grocery, general merchandise
Owner TPG
Number of employees
Website Poundworld.co.uk

Poundworld is a British value variety store that sells most of its items for £1.[1] The chain was founded in 1974 by Yorkshire-based father and son team Chris Edwards Sr. and Chris Edwards Jr.[2]

In contrast to many high-street retailers,[3] Poundworld maintained strong sales and growth during the global recession that started in 2007.[4]

Poundworld's product range consisted of over 6,000 items including groceries, health and beauty, toiletries, cleaning products and pet care,[5] some of them known brands;[6] it has over 6,000 employees and over 340 stores in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; and it was planning to open 150 new stores within three years.[7]

Its larger rival in the market is Poundland. BBC Two series entitled Pound Shop Wars, broadcast between 2012 and 2015, focused on Poundworld and its rivals.


Poundworld store in Bradford
Poundworld, North End Road, Fulham, London

The chain originated in 1974, when Chris Edwards Sr. set up a market stall in his home town of Wakefield.[8] Edwards initially set up a multi-price store called "Bargain Centre", before switching to a single-price format in 1997, trading as "Everything's £1".[9]

Since the recession that started in 2007, Poundworld has expanded rapidly.[10] Its sales grew by 42% in 2010-2011,[11] and increased by 55% with revenues of £200M in 2012.[10] Its expansion meant that the company required larger premises, and it relocated its head offices to the largest unit in Yorkshire's main warehousing and distribution base.[12] It also opened an overseas office in Shanghai during this period.[13]

In October 2013, Poundworld partnered with the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity, which it had already supported during 2013's Great Daffodil Appeal.[14]

In November 2013, Poundworld opened its first multi-price retail store under the Bargain Buys name in Walsall.[15] Bargain Buys was originally and briefly traded as Discount UK, with the name change allowing the chain to compete more closely with its rivals in the market.[15] The company planned to open a further 100 stores in the next 3 years.[16]

In mid-2014 the store secured a £26m loan from Santander to finance its stated aim of increasing its approximately 240 stores by 40 or 50 a year for the next three years, and to strengthen its overseas supply chain from where about 30% of its supplies are sourced.[7]

Former Poundworld logo with the "Everything £1" slogan

In 2014, The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that Poundworld's "Everything £1" slogan was misleading, as some items were priced at up to £8.99. Poundworld stated that the products in question were 'Manager Specials' and were only run at Christmas and occasionally throughout the year.[17][18]

The Edwards (father and son) were placed at number 12 in Management Today's annual list of Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs in October 2014.[19] In the same month Poundworld Retail was named one of the UK's fastest-growing retailers in the Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250.[20]

On 15 May 2015 the company announced that it had sold a majority stake in the business to US private equity firm TPG for £150 million,[21] with Christopher Edwards, his son, and other senior executives retaining a substantial minority holding, allowing the family to maintain the day-to-day running of the business.[22] Poundworld announced that the investment from TPG would allow the business to grow, with further plans for store expansion.[23] Shortly after the deal, the company announced that it had begun construction of a new distribution centre in Normanton as part of a plan to create 4,000 jobs and open a further 200 new stores in the next 3 years.[24][25]


In May 2012, the company launched a wholesale website, targeted at market traders, eBay sellers and independent retailers.[26] The website offers over 2,000 products including cleaning, DIY, stationery and pet care.[27] Since launching online, the operation has seen a sales increase of 400%.[28]

The company followed this in February 2014 by launching a retail online pound store named poundshop.com.[29] Poundworld supplied stock and product images for the single-price website – the first of its kind. However, Poundworld decided to leave the project after 6 months, citing "a failure to reach a shared vision" with Smith.[30] It launched another online shop in April 2015: Poundworld Plus,[31] offering over 4,000 products, all at £1.[32] It later changed the website name to Poundworld.co.uk.

Notable products

In 2013, Poundworld launched a comfort bra priced at £1.[33] 100,000 were bought in a few hours.[33]

In 2014, the company started selling a range of merchandise relating to the 2013 Disney film, Frozen.[34] At Poundworld's new store opening in Merthyr Tydfil in October, people waited for over an hour before it opened, with fights breaking out as stocks ran low.[35] There were similar crowds at the new Nottingham store in November.[36]

Pound Shop Wars

In 2012, the company was the subject of a BBC documentary series, Pound Shop Wars, that focused on the competition between Poundworld and its rivals.[37] After the initial hour-long pilot, the four-episode series was broadcast in early 2014.[38] A second series of 8 episodes was screened in autumn 2015.[39]


  1. "Poundworld leads the charge as single-price discounters lift off". thegrocer. 2012.
  2. "Poundworld Father And Son Entrepreneurs Head Yorkshire Contingency In MT Top 100 List". bdaily.co.uk. 2014.
  3. "Comet's collapse and other post-recession retail failures". Telegraph Media Group. 2012.
  4. "Pounding way out of recession". Johnston Press. 2011.
  5. "Categories Poundworld". poundworld.co.uk. 2014.
  6. "No wonder the middle classes are invading pound stores: From Balsamic vinegar and bird tables to spectacles and a range of pillows, they rival even John Lewis". Associated Newspapers. 2014.
  7. 1 2 "Poundworld to fund expansion with 26M loan package". The Grocer. 2014.
  8. "King of the bargains eyes bonanza". Times Newspapers. 2012.
  9. "Bargain Chain Poundworld Opens New Store". Newsquest. 2014.
  10. 1 2 "Sales pass £200m at expanding Poundworld". Newsco Insider Limited. 2012.
  11. "Could It Be Magic No Just Hard Work Says Thriving Poundworld". The Grocer. 2011.
  12. "Poundworld looks for space to grow". Johnston Press. 2010.
  13. "Interview: Chris Edwards, Poundworld". How Did They Do It. 2013.
  14. "Poundworld Launches Campaign For Marie Curie". Newsquest. 2013.
  15. 1 2 "Bargain Buys is new face of Discount UK". The Grocer. 2013.
  16. "New Bargain Buys fascia creates 80 jobs". M.E.N. Media. 2013.
  17. "ASA Ruling on Poundworld Retail Ltd". Advertising Standards Agency. 8 October 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  18. "Poundworld's 'everything £1' claim banned by watchdog". Telegraph Media Group. 2014.
  19. "Britain's Top 100 Entrepreneurs 2014: No. 12 - Chris and Chris Edwards, Poundworld". Haymarket Media Group Ltd. 2014.
  20. "Latest News". Poundworld Retail Ltd. 2015.
  21. "Poundworld sold to US firm for £150m - bbc.co.uk p.15 May 2015". Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  22. http://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/577393/150m-buyout-inflate-Poundworld
  23. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/may/14/high-street-chain-poundworld-sells-majority-stake-to-us-investors
  24. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-33463515
  25. http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/channels/discounters/poundworld-to-add-200-new-stores-nationwide/521347.article
  26. "Poundworld hails launch of its discount wholesale website". The Grocer. 2012.
  27. "Discount Wholesale – Poundshop Supplier and Wholesaler UK – ITP Imports". 2014.
  28. "Sales up 400% for Poundworld's Discount Wholesale Website". The Grocer. 2013.
  29. "Poundworld launches online store poundshop.com this week". The Grocer. 2014.
  30. "Poundland founder's online venture suffers blow as partner quits". Guardian News Ltd. 2014.
  31. http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/poundworld-launches-online-shop-bargains-5555765
  32. http://www.theretailbulletin.com/news/poundworld_unveils_ecommerce_website_20-04-15/
  33. 1 2 "Would you wear a £1 bra? Poundworld launch world's cheapest bra . . . and say MILLIONS of cash-strapped women will snap it up". Associated Newspapers. 2014.
  34. "Disney's Frozen: Merchandise coming to Nottingham Poundworld". Local World. 2014.
  35. "Let it go...or maybe not. Women seen fighting over Disney's Frozen merchandise at opening of new Poundworld store". Media Wales. 2014.
  36. "Poundworld swamped by crowds of desperate parents as Frozen merchandise goes on sale for Xmas - and sells out TEN MINUTES". Associated Newspapers. 2014.
  37. "BBC One – Pound Shop Wars". BBC. 2014.
  38. "Pound Shop Wars (4 x 30' Series)". Zodiak Rights. 2014.
  39. "Nine Lives Media". Nine Lives Media. 2014.
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