First jobs axed at Poundworld

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Almost 100 jobs have been axed at Poundworld’s Normanton headquarters, it was announced just days after the company was plunged into administration.

The chain of discount stores has put more than 5,000 employees at risk across the UK as administrators, Deloitte, searches for a buyer.

However it has been confirmed that 98 staff at head office have been made redundant this week.

The firm has been hit hard by plummeting footfall across the nation’s high streets.

As well as it’s headquarters in Normanton Industrial Estate, there are Poundworld stores in Wakefield in The Ridings, Westgate Retail Park and at Snowhill Retail Park, and on Castleford’s Carlton Street.

MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, Yvette Cooper questioned the timing of the job cuts.

She said: “Poundworld shouldn’t be making redundancies while there is still a search underway to find a new buyer as we should be doing everything possible to save jobs.

“I’ve already spoken to local trade union representatives and I have asked to meet senior management as soon as possible to urge them to delay these redundancies. I am also calling on other local employers such as TK Maxx to stand ready to offer jobs to hard working local people who may end up unfairly losing out.”

Poundworld founder, Chris Edwards opened his first shop in Wakefield centre in 1975 and it now has over 350 outlets.

During the credit crunch in the 2000s, business boomed with the firm recording a 55 per cent increase in sales to £200 million during one financial year.

Mr Edwards sold a majority stake to a private equity firm in America in 2015, with the promise of another 200 stores and 4,000 extra jobs.

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett felt more needed to be done to protect retailers.

He said: “A lot of brands are closing and it’s affecting the quality of the high street. Shoppers habits are changing.

“There’s more that the government could and should do, it would be unfortunate if the high street continued to die away, and leave it with just betting shops, arcades and second-hand shops.”