Founded in 1979, Nottinghamshire-based JTF Mega Discount Warehouse was a mainstay in the North East, selling thousands of lines in home and garden, DIY, electrical, furniture, toys, pets pets, toiletries, cleaning, sports and recreation.
In 2020, it revealed plans to open 40 new stores and create over 1,400 new jobs – and go public in 2023.
She launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund her ambitions and give investors a chance to own a stake in the company ahead of its IPO.
Based in Tuxford, Notts, it started 40 years ago as a ‘man-group’ selling watches in a barbershop, but a year later in 2021 it collapsed into administration with the closure of its 14 stores and the loss of approximately 500 jobs.
At the time, a statement issued on behalf of the company said the pandemic had played a big part in its demise, with forced store closures wiping out fireworks and Christmas sales that were “two of the most important items seasonal workers for JTF”.
It was acquired by Bargain Buys, a subsidiary of Poundstretcher in September.
What happened next ?
Poundstretcher co-owner and managing director Aziz Tayub sounded a hopeful tone in September last year when he announced the purchase which he said had secured employment for 230 people and would lead to the opening of 15 other branches.
The new owners planned to reopen closed JTF stores immediately.
But branches in Preston, Sheffield Warrington never reopened.
What happened to the rest of the stores?
Mr Tayub revealed in an exclusive interview with BusinessLive that he had been forced to close most of the stores he had reopened because the ‘large shed format’ had failed to fit the Poundstretcher model in the face of high rates and rents .
Stores in Leeds, Lincoln, Hull and Newcastle upon Tyne are among those now closed.
Stores in Margate and Merthyr Tydfil have been moved to existing Poundstretcher stores.
He said Poundstretcher stepped in because management wanted to test the waters of the “large shed format” used by JTF and other retailers.
Mr Tayub said: “Basically the rents and rates were too high, so we moved some of the JTF store lines to our own stores.
“They include a Merthyr Tydfil store, because the JTF store because you can’t have rates and rents of £400,000 per store. We also moved others and closed others.
“The original plan was to see what it was like to run large JTF hangars, but they were too big for us and we don’t have a big enough range to fill them. We are better at medium or smaller stores.
“We hired some of the staff, but some were unable to travel. There weren’t many. The people we had in the JTF had been employed on a temporary basis so we could see how it was going.
“Taking over the business was a good idea – we learned a lot from them and now have a good range of products thanks to them.”
Are any stores still open?
There are only two JTF branded stores still open in Kidderminster and Hucknall.
My Tayub said the stores could “move”, potentially under the Poundstretcher brand.
We cover all the latest retail news with journalists based in the regions – you can read our retail news here.
To stay up to date with us, you can: