A Poundland store has opened its doors in the old Wilko unit at a County Durham shopping centre - with some familiar faces joining the new team at the opening of the store. 

Opening on Saturday (October 21), the bargain store welcomed its first customers at Byron Place Shopping Centre in Seaham after taking over the old Wilko building. 

And there were some familiar places present at the opening of the store, with 11 ex-Wilko staff joining the Poundland team - leaving emotional moments for those that had returned to their former store. 

Read more: More Wilko stores to re-open as Poundlands this weekend

The shop will be open 8am Monday to Saturday and Sunday from 10am.

This store opening is part of Poundland taking over old Wilko stores across the UK, with 37 buildings so far being converted from the closed retailer to Poundland. 

Wilko entered administration in August leaving all 400 stores and 12,500 employees at risk. 

The Northern Echo: The new Poundland signage in SeahamThe new Poundland signage in Seaham (Image: BYRON PLACE)

Administrators at PwC were forced to sell off Wilko’s assets after failing to secure a rescue deal for the whole business.

More than 250 Wilko stores have shut across the UK, with the final round of closures taking place in early October. 

However, there are a number of sites across the UK that have been saved and will relaunched under a new high-street brand. 

The Northern Echo: The team at the new Poundland storeThe team at the new Poundland store (Image: BYRON PLACE)

Fellow high street retailer B&M bought 51 Wilko stores at the beginning of September in a deal thought to be worth around £13 million. 

While The Range agreed to a deal to buy Wilko’s brand for around £5 million.

Poundland owner Pepco also agreed on a deal earlier this month to buy 71 Wilko stores from administrator PwC following the collapse of the high street chain.

The Northern Echo: Inside the new Poundland storeInside the new Poundland store (Image: BYRON PLACE)

Already, several other stores in the region have opened as Poundland, including Bede Precinct, Viking Centre, Jarrow, South Tyneside, Gateshead, and Cramlington.

Poundland said it aims to open all the Wilko stores it bought by the end of 2023 before giving them all a full makeover in 2024 so they become “fully operational Poundlands”.

Wilko staff offered priority access to Poundland jobs.

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Poundland said it is continuing to "prioritise" former Wilko staff for roles amid the raft of store re-openings across the UK.

No workers were directly transferred to Poundland as part of the rescue deal, but Poundland has encouraged former Wilko staff to apply for roles and said it would “prioritise” them for positions at the stores.

Poundland said it has already made hundreds of job offers to former Wilko staff, with that number "increasing day-by-day”.