Meet Sean Cardinaal, Poundland Director

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Poundland is one of the UK’s biggest discount store chains, selling everything from shampoo to weed killer for just £1. Let’s take a look at the man who fills the role of Poundland director, and how he came to be involved in the business.

Poundland first opened in 1990 and, in its prime, it was serving seven million shoppers a week. The store sells a vast range of items – in fact, customers can browse more than 3,000 different products, from gardening equipment to beauty products, crafting materials and party accessories. Poundland also offers some helpful services, including international mobile top-ups, SIM cards and e-gift cards.

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sean cardinaalWho is the Poundland director?

As Chief Operating Officer at Pepkor Europe, Poundland’s parent company, Sean Cardinaal sits at the top of the Poundland leadership team. He joined the Pepkor Group in 2001 as General Manager of Pepkor Clothing. A year later, he became Merchandise Director of Pep Stores.

In 2011, Cardinaal took up the role of Managing Director at Ackermans, and joined Pepkor Europe in 2016. He’s supported by Managing Director Barry Williams, Trading Director Tim Bettley and Finance Director Dave Williams.

What is Poundland?

It all started in 1990 with the launch of Poundland’s pilot store in Burton-Upon-Trent. A year later, the business opened a head office in Wolverhampton, and another in Hong Kong, to provide support with product sourcing. In 2002, the brand was sold to Advent International and Colin Smith was appointed as Chairman.

Poundland opened the doors to its 100th location in 2003, proving just how much the British public loved the brand. In 2006, Jim McCarthy became its CEO and, two years later, the business was able to launch its 200th store. The same year, Poundland formed a partnership with Macmillan Cancer Support.

A famous face Jane Asher was Poundland’s first celebrity partner.

The brand first went overseas in 2009, when it expanded into Northern Ireland. Then, in 2011, Poundland won Discount Retailer of The Year at the Retail Industry Awards. More and more Poundland sites popped up across the UK and, in 2013, Jane Asher, the brand’s first celebrity partner, opened the 500th store in Birmingham. In 2015, Poundland’s turnover exceeded £1 billion for the first time.

The following year, Steinhoff Europe AG, an international retail holding company based in South Africa, acquired Poundland for £610 million. As a result, its shares were delisted from the London Stock Exchange. Steinhoff has plenty of expertise when it comes to manufacturing and sourcing low-cost household goods and furniture – which is great news for customers with an eye for a bargain.

Since its launch in 1990, Poundland has established more than 800 stores across the UK, as well as 60 in Ireland.

Does Poundland franchise?

Unfortunately, Poundland isn’t looking to expand through the franchise model. There has been talk of doing so in the past, but this never became a reality, as Poundland was able to achieve rapid growth in a short time period. However, there are other convenience store franchise opportunities to get involved in…

Alternative franchise opportunities in the retail sector


With a history that goes all the way back to 1932, SPAR is a convenience store “run by locals, for locals”. Entrepreneurs who choose to open their own SPAR branch will draw customers in as a result of the brand’s positive reputation.

You’ll join a huge network of SPAR retailers, totalling over 12,000 stores in over 34 countries. This makes it the largest food store chain on the planet. In the UK alone, 50,000 attentive staff members serve the public daily, helping to generate a revenue of over £3 billion.

  • Becoming a SPAR franchisee: You can find out more and apply on the SPAR website.
  • How much you need to invest: SPAR hasn’t revealed its investment figures on its franchise web page, but you can find out by getting in touch with the retailer.
  • What you get for your investment: Franchisees who join the brand can benefit from SPAR’s store development service and online Guild Training Academy. By utilising these valuable tools, franchisees can gain key retail management qualifications, which will enable them to progress further in the retail sector.

SPAR are great! I should have switched earlier. On reflection I had taken my eye off the ball and this change has got me buzzing again and my sales are up. The promotional three weekly cycle works well so that I can always be offering great value deals. – Martin & Sue Turner, SPAR Chatburn


CeX is an interesting alternative to a Poundland franchise. It retails second-hand consumer electronics and entertainment technology and has quickly become the go-to retailer for any customer with an interest in gaming or hard-to-find electronic equipment.

Launched in London in 1992, CeX now boasts a huge customer base in the UK and across the globe. The brand currently operates more than 600 stores in total, many of which are run by franchise partners. It relies heavily on the franchise model in the UK, as 267 of the 385 UK stores are run by franchisees.

  • Becoming a CeX franchisee: The brand asks that its franchisees have previous retail management experience to be accepted onto the programme.
  • How much you need to invest: To join the franchisee pool, you will need to have funds of between £150,000 and £250,000.
  • What you get for your investment: This will give you access to a world-renowned brand and an established customer base. And you’ll receive advice and support every step of the way. If things don’t go to plan and you find yourself regretting your investment, you can turn to CeX’s ‘buy-back guarantee’, which gives you a safety net when you first set up your store. By following the brand’s established business model, however, you are likely to reap the rewards of investing into a world-renowned brand.

Card Group

If you’re interested in franchising, you might want to take a look at Card Group, which takes advantage of the huge market for greeting cards. In the UK, this sector is worth over £2 billion. This franchise was born in 1997, under the strapline, “We are different”. Today, it sells cards, gift packaging and party decorations from a range of different types of stores across the world, including supermarkets, convenience stores, bookstores and toy stores.

  • Becoming a Card Group franchisee: Investors should be passionate about building on the brand and have some managerial and sales experience. Good communication skills will also be important to business success. To learn more and sign up, visit Card Group's profile page.
  • How much you need to invest: Franchisees should be willing to make an investment of £60,000, including franchise fees of £13,500.
  • What you get for your investment: Franchisees who opt to join Sweden’s largest exported franchise can benefit from the brand’s 21 years of franchising experience. One of the major plus points of this franchise is that its products are sold to retailers under the condition that they only pay for what they sell, simplifying franchisees’ sales pitches. When you join, you’ll also get training and ongoing support, as well as an invitation to the brand’s annual conferences in Sweden.

Start your franchising journey today

To find out about the other investment opportunities open to you, take a look at our retail franchise catalogue.

>> Read more articles on the Retail sector

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