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Pound shop growth highlights broadening appeal of budget shopping

Number of pound shops doubles over the last ten years.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Pound shop growth highlights broadening appeal of budget shopping

Number of pound shops doubles over the last ten years.

According to new research from Experian the number of pound shops on the UK’s high streets has almost doubled in the last ten years, reflecting the broadening appeal of budget shopping.

According to Experian’s Goad survey, in 1999 there were just 380 pound shops across the UK, a figure that increased to 742 by the end of 2009. Despite the recession, the rise in the number of shops with the word ‘pound’ in their name took place well before the downturn – with 628 pound shops trading by 2004.  From originally targeting a fairly narrow customer base, the recent success of value retailers underlines a significant shift in consumer shopping habits towards seeking far greater value for money.

Jonathan de Mello, Director of Retail and Property at Experian, said: "Stores like Poundland posted good results over the Christmas period, while the continuing success of value fashion retailers Peacock’s and Primark and the public’s appetite for discount vouchers and the use of comparison websites show that the cost-conscious consumer’s desire for a bargain is as strong as ever.

“However, the success of value retailers is not simply a recent knee-jerk reaction to the pressures of the recession. It is part of a longer-term trend across the whole of the UK in favour of budget shopping options that will last beyond the recession.”

While the total number of pound shops has risen, the number of different fascia names – such as PoundLand, Pound World, Poundstretcher etc - has fallen from 130 in 2004 to just 88 in late 2009, highlighting the rise of the chain in this sector. The Experian survey shows that while in 1999 there was only one chain of over 50 pound shops, by 2009 there were three chains competing for consumers’ attentions. 

Jonathan de Mello added: "Since the recession hit, higher numbers of shop units have become vacant and it has become easier for discount and value offer shops to pick up better quality space at a good price. But we are also seeing a move towards a smaller number of larger, more professional pound chains as the industry consolidates.”

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