Christmas this year reminded me how much I like and use pound shops.
No, not because it’s where I bought all my gifts (just the stocking fillers!), but because of all the money I usually save on the little day-to-day things that I normally buy at these stores.
Staying at my dad’s over Christmas, my first holiday visit after arriving on Christmas Eve was to Tesco Express down the road to pick up some basics that he didn’t have. Shower gel, coffee, kitchen cloths and chocolate (yes, chocolate does count as ‘essential’).
So here’s why I ended up missing my local pound shop over Christmas. These four items cost me just under a tenner at Tesco. Whereas at home, they are just the kind of thing I would have stocked up on from the pound store – at a cost of £4.
These one-price stores are a great place to buy certain essentials. OK, maybe not all products will appeal, and maybe some items can be bought for the same price elsewhere, but on the whole they can save us so much on our weekly shop.
And it seems that more and more of us are starting to rely on these stores. The BBC reports that Poundland has had huge success since it was founded in 1990. By 2002 it had 70 stores up and running. By the end of this year, the store expected to have 460 units under its name.
These shops have become such a fixture on our high streets that for many of us they have become a standard part of our weekly shopping. The one-time stigma attached to these stores is also fading.
Whereas many shoppers may once have shunned pound stores, more than one in 10 of Poundland’s shoppers now come from the top social classes, and stores in affluent areas are doing well.
“If you look at the statistics, a lot of people who shop there are from the highest social segments. Everyone shops there, it is almost a classless experience,” says Neil Saunders, managing director of the retail consultancy Conlumino.
And why not? With such a competitive retail environment, there’s no reason why anyone should have to pay a higher price than they need to.
And that’s why I love pound shops!
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