Middle England goes mad for 99p stores…

June 14, 2011

The Retail Inspector – Barber-Shop

The ‘fixed-price’ retail chains where everything is valued at just 99p are taking over Middle England, as cash-strapped consumers pile in to stock up on cheap groceries.

Established back in 2001 as a single store based in London, the value retailer has said in a statement that pre-tax profits rose from £1.8m to £6.3m – an extraordinary jump!

Hussein Lalani, the chief executive says that high street stores have been ripping the public off for years, he said: “It’s not so much how we have done it, but how the established High Street stores have got away with it for so many years.

“They have been selling basics like toothpaste, washing-up liquid, tea and coffee at over the odds for years. Now the public has cottoned on.”

The expansion of 99p stores across the country is partly due to the demise of Woolworths, and the empty slots their stores left on the high-street. The company now has 144 stores with plans to open another 31 branches within the next seven months.

Of course the worry for Mr Lalani is that occupants of towns such as St. Albans and the New Forest will turn their noses up at such stores, who may feel that the reputation of 99p stores will damage their own standing. He explained that: “Even in Bishops Stratford, where we are opening in September, we have had isolated claims from local business people that the town is too ‘posh’ for us.

“But wherever we have opened or planned to open we have had shoppers from all sectors of society beating a path to our door. Value has no class boundaries or borders.”

Obviously Mr Lalani speaks the truth, as the boost in profits for 99p Stores shows. Consumers these days, in this economic climate, care more for bagging a bargain than upholding a social snobbery.

As well as the success of the 99p Stores, Mr Lalani also cites the opening of ten non-fixed price stores, called Family Bargains, as being part of the accomplishment. Family Bargan stores stock beds, dining tables and electrical goods such as microwaves as well as the majority of the 99p Stores’ 10,000 lines

So it seems another way to tackle the slowdown in the economy is to undercut the rest of the high-street, no matter who you are – everyone is a sucker for a bargain!


In other news…

Angela Ahrendts, the chief executive of luxury retailer Burberry, took home £5m in pay, bonuses and from share sales last year.

Further to this she stands to earn another £9m in the company hits certain targets over the medium-term.

Why is this news? Well, it quite simply shows that there are rewards to reap if you roll your sleeves up and strategically attack the market.

Over the last few months we’ve seen a lot of action from Burberry, integrating itself in the Asian market as well as re-investing in London has paid off, especially for Ms Ahrendts.