A new surge of up-market bargain hunters has seen the number of discount stores rocket by 60% during the last two years.
New research by the Local Data Company backed by the British Property Federation shows that just under half of the 1,423 discount stores across Great Britain are in London and the south east. And for every one discount retailer that closes, two have opened.
Customer bases have also drastically changed. Poundland, for example, has seen a 22% increase in the number of shoppers from the richer AB group. Traditionally, that retailer’s market has been driven by females in the C2, D and E socio-economic groups.
Affluent areas such as Cambridge, Oxford, Stratford upon Avon and Tunbridge Wells have all seen a recent influx of discounters.
Commenting on the trend, Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said: “Whatever opinions people may have about pound stores, they’re growing in popularity and, more importantly, generate jobs and footfall that benefits other retailers on the high street.
“The rise has also been fuelled by the demise of Woolworths, leaving more prime spots available. Some of our biggest members all have pound store tenants.
“The increase in discount stores represents a marked change in the psychology of shoppers,” she went on. “Rather than shopping for a particular good or commodity, people are going out with a set sum of cash knowing that they will be able to get a specific number of items. And in practice they often end up buying more.”
Regions with the most discount shops include Greater London (357 outlets), the south east (250), Yorkshire and Humber (137) and the north west (135).