HEREFORD'S Poundland shop will be reopening after months of 'hibernation' during the coronavirus pandemic.

The chain today (February 23) announced it will begin opening its stores from 8am on February 26 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night set out the roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions.

The discount retailer has kept the vast majority of its stores open for essential shopping across the UK throughout the pandemic but placed some stores back in hibernation in January as customer numbers dropped sharply when nearby non-essential retailers closed.

In anticipation that the easing of restrictions announced by the PM last night will mark the start of a steady return to normality, staff in 29 hibernating stores will return to work today to prepare the shops, including Hereford's Maylord Shopping Centre branch, for opening on Friday.

Poundland plans to bring the remaining stores out of hibernation in the coming weeks and is working closely with landlords and shopping centres on re-opening plans.

Dubbed “Operation Spring Back”, all the stores coming out of hibernation will re-open to customers with the robust health and safety measures that have been in operation throughout the pandemic.

Poundland retail director, Austin Cooke, said: “We’re proud to have kept most of our stores open serving our communities with the essentials they need, but in some places, we couldn’t stay open when so many of our neighbours were forced to close.

“The roadmap is good news for retailers and our town centres which have such an important role to play in our recovery and our colleagues and customers will be delighted that we’re re-opening in these locations, and so are we

“Safety continues to be our first priority, and shoppers can return with confidence - we’re well versed in making our stores safe place to shop. We’re all looking forward to giving them a warm welcome as they return.”

Customers are asked to observe government guidelines on social distancing and wearing masks.