Crown Crest, the Leicester-based cash amp; carry empire, is planning to expand overseas with its Poundstretcher retail chain. Poundstretcher, has more than 400 stores in the UK and is majority-owned by Aziz Tayub’s Crown Crest cash and carry group. Now the group has its sights set on the playground of the Middle East’s rich and famous, Dubai. The budget chain plans to open its first overseas branch in the next fortnight in the opulent, newly built Madina Mall. If all goes well, more stores could follow in the oil-rich Emirate.
Crown Crest finance director Hemant Patel told the Leicester Mercury this week: “We’ve had this store in the pipeline for some time. The family which owns the company is familiar with Dubai, having done business there before. It’s a trial and if it works out we will open up a few more stores out there. It will be slightly different but will still have a similar offering to what’s available in the UK stores.”
Dubai is home to a substantial UK expat community, who would be familiar with Poundstretcher. In addition large foreign workforces building skyscrapers and hotels and working in them could make the ideal market for the bargain groceries, homewares and FMCG lines Poundstretcher sells.
Over the past couple of years Poundstretcher has bought a number of sites from struggling retailers as part of its expansion, such as 18 Ugo stores in northern England and some former Focus DIY stores. As a result the combined Crown Crest and Poundstretcher businesses have a turnover of about £400m.
The company has just opened a £36m, 470,000sq ft distribution centre in Kirby Muxloe which has begun supplying Poundstretcher shops around the UK.
The Kirby Muxloe warehouse was built on a site bought by Crown Crest in February 2008. An existing 290,000 sq ft building on the site was also refurbished for the business.