Poundworld’s multi-price format, Discount UK, lands in Middlesbrough

Discount UK (former Woolworths), Middlesbrough (4 May 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Discount UK (former Woolworths), Middlesbrough (4 May 2011)

Down on Teesside last week, I’d only really planned to have a quick look around Middlesbrough while waiting for my connecting bus to Redcar. However, I was startled to notice that the ex-Woolies (and ex-Waremart) unit in the town’s Hillstreet shopping centre had acquired a new occupant – a variety store called Discount UK – which has apparently been open since 23 April.

Regular readers will recall that when I first visited Middlesbrough in September 2009, the large ex-Woolworths site (store #1200) was occupied, on a short-term lease, by a discount variety retailer, Waremart.

The same unit in use as Waremart (17 Sep 2009). Photograph by Graham Soult

The same unit in use as Waremart (17 Sep 2009)

However, by January 2010 Waremart had gone, with the unit remaining empty throughout last year.

Former Woolworths and Waremart, Middlesbrough (28 Jun 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Former Woolworths and Waremart, Middlesbrough (28 Jun 2010)

I’d never come across Discount UK before seeing it in Middlesbrough, but it seems that it’s a new multi-price fascia from Poundworld – a way, self-evidently, of allowing the single-price retailer to sell products costing more than £1, and to therefore increase the average basket size. To date, Poundworld has acquired several ex-Woolies locations for its eponymous stores, including the West Ealing branch that I visited back in November.

Poundworld store, West Ealing (24 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

Poundworld store, West Ealing (24 Nov 2010)

There’s no information on store locations on Discount UK’s website holding page, but from what I can gather there are also stores in Leeds and Stevenage, with another dozen planned for 2011. The Stevenage store, opened in January this year, is apparently housed in premises that had been empty since Littlewoods left in 2005.

Screenshot of DiscountUK website (8 May 2011)

Screenshot of DiscountUK website (8 May 2011)

Retail Week’s article about Discount UK quotes the chain’s boss describing it as an “up-to-date Woolies, with a vibrant look and more choice and value”, and based on my visit to the Middlesbrough store it’s hard to argue with that assessment. Where Waremart was essentially camping out in a space that still looked and felt like a Woolworths, Discount UK has completely transformed it, the palette of black, white and pink giving the store a much smarter and more upmarket feel than its value competitors, such as B&M Bargains or Family Bargains (99p Stores’ own take on the multi-price format), or indeed Poundworld’s eponymous stores.

Discount UK flyer (from Hillstreet website)

Discount UK flyer (from Hillstreet website)

Discount UK seems like a strong addition to the Primark-anchored retail offer at Hillstreet, and was certainly busy with shoppers when I visited last Wednesday morning. It’s also a great solution to the question of what to do with Middlesbrough’s old Woolworths, given that virtually all the other takers of large ex-Woolies sites – such as Peacocks, New Look, TK Maxx, TJ Hughes, Poundland, Next and Wilkinson – were represented in the town already.

Back of Hillstreet - minus its Woolies sign (4 May 2011). Photograph by Graham Soult

Back of Hillstreet - minus its Woolies sign (4 May 2011)

...and with the sign still in place six months ago (16 Nov 2010). Photograph by Graham Soult

...and with the sign still in place six months ago (16 Nov 2010)

One positive side-effect of the chain’s arrival is that the Woolworths sign at the rear of the store – present throughout Waremart’s stay – has finally been taken down, reinforcing the sense that Discount UK has invested in Middlesbrough for the long term.

I hope the store does well, and encourages the chain to consider further North East sites. In Discount UK, it could be that we’ve finally found the perfect candidate for the still-vacant ex-Woolies in Newcastle city centre: a business whose presence would greatly improve the appearance of that part of Clayton Street, while still being a great fit with – and footfall driver for – the street’s value credentials.

If it comes off, don’t forget that you heard it here first…

7 Responses to “Poundworld’s multi-price format, Discount UK, lands in Middlesbrough”

  1. Jay said:

    May 15, 11 at 11:25

    Just noticed this brand will be opening a store in an out of town shed in Edinburgh Straiton, next door to Home Bargains and a stonesthrow away from Ikea

  2. Graham Soult said:

    May 15, 11 at 14:27

    Thanks Jay! Out of interest, do you know what was in that unit before?

  3. Soult's Retail View » Has DiscountUK signed up for Newcastle’s old Clayton Street Woolies? said:

    Sep 28, 11 at 23:27

    [...] old Woolworths in Middlesbrough’s Hillstreet shopping centre (#1200) back in April, which I blogged about at the time. As I noted then, I was quite impressed – DiscountUK is a much more upmarket looking store [...]

  4. Soult's Retail View » As Discount UK opens in Newcastle, Poundstretcher watches said:

    Nov 04, 11 at 20:07

    [...] used the bulk of the space that Woolworths previously occupied, making it rather larger than the existing Discount UK store in Middlesbrough. Externally, the store has gained some smart and bright signage that is an undoubted improvement on [...]

  5. Soult's Retail View » One town, five stores: tracking down Middlesbrough’s ex-Woolworths (part 1) said:

    Jan 10, 12 at 00:27

    [...] my first visit to Middlesbrough’s most recent former Woolworths – the site of today’s Discount UK – back in September 2009, Soult’s Retail View readers Ali Brown and Gareth Hill helped [...]

  6. Soult's Retail View » Poundworld and Discount UK to open dual-fascia store in Swindon said:

    Feb 22, 12 at 16:27

    [...] written about Discount UK in the context of it taking over the large ex-Woolworths sites in both Middlesbrough and Newcastle, while the site of the new Swindon store in Regent Street – another former [...]

  7. Consultas de santeria en Madrid said:

    Mar 02, 12 at 18:20

    Consultas de santeria en Madrid…

    [...]Soult's Retail View » Poundworld’s multi-price format, Discount UK, lands in Middlesbrough[...]…


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