Discount retail will always have a place for bricks and mortar stores, says Poundland country manager Olivia McLoughlin
There will always be a place for bricks and mortar stores in the discount retail sector, according to Olivia McLoughlin, country manager for retail with Poundland and Dealz.
While Poundland is currently trialling e-commerce in some parts of the UK, she insists that what the chains offer will always require a physical presence.
“”From a discount retailing point of view, there will always be a place for bricks and mortar stores and we are certainly very proud of ours,” Olivia says, in an in-depth interview with Neighbourhood Retailer.
“In the UK, Poundland is trialling e-commerce in limited postcode areas so we can learn, but our focus is around how we make our stores bigger and better, and places where customers want to spend more time.”
Oliva describes retail as ‘Marmite’ and says she has never wanted to do anything else.
“I love being in a business which has so much energy and pace and due to the transformation, it feels like a young and vibrant business and only on the cusp of what we can achieve,” she says.
“It is also exciting to me that, while the Dealz brand was born in Ireland, it now operates across Europe, currently trading from over 200 locations.
“Retail is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it and certainly I have loved it since my first day. I have no aspirations to do anything else.”
Olivia says the ‘people culture’ she absorbed in her previous roles in Dixons Carphone and Claire’s Accessories fits nicely with Dealz and Poundland where people have always been at the forefront of who they are.
“We look at how we incorporate people-led and service-led agendas, which historically may not have been what our customers would necessarily expect from discount retailers,” she says.
That people-focused approach served cash strapped customers well during the pandemic, she says.
“It provided an opportunity to continue to offer great value to our customers who have always been price conscious but found themselves in a difficult situation due to the pandemic,” she says.
“It’s important to point out that we never changed our pricing. While others in retail who maybe operate with a high/low strategy have removed promotions etc, we run on set pricing.
“This means we’ve been able to maintain our prices and offer great value to all of our customers which has been a great thing to be able to do during the pandemic.”
The chain recently announced a €20 million investment over three years that will create more than 500 jobs across Ireland and is bringing its PEP&CO clothing and home ranges to stores that don’t currently have them.
Its chilled and frozen ranges are being rolled out in Northern Ireland and into the Republic in 2022.
“At no time during the pandemic have we stood still and we have no intention of standing still in the future, “ Olivia says.
“Our business has really evolved based on what our customers are telling us. We stay close to our customers, speak to them regularly and react to their needs.”
Read the full interview with Olivia HERE.