Recession-hit shoppers are now so desperate for a bargain that it has caused an unexpected boom for budget chain Poundland. Even the cash-strapped middle-classes are now flocking to the pound shop in a bid to cut back on spending and pick up a bargain buy.
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In fact, such is the demand for Poundland products that the chain has seen profits soar by an astonishing 81.5 per cent, and the company is reportedly expanding at the rate of one new store every week.
Poundland is now considering online trading and even expanding into the international market.
Chief executive Jim McCarthy believes this new-found success is down to middle-class shoppers searching for top brand toiletries and food at slashed prices.
"We have two types of customers, those who need to save money and increasing numbers of middle-class customers who are choosing to save money to preserve their lifestyle," he told the Daily Mail.
"More middle-class customers are trying us because attitudes have changed and there is no shame in saving money any more. They make a virtue of spending wisely."
Where once landlords considered Poundland stores to be "downmarket", the company's renewed success means bosses are now approached by property owners.
Having taken over a number of former Woolworths sites, Poundland stores will increase from 263 in April to 320 come Christmas - a further 50 are set to open in 2011.
With batteries, toiletries, food and Christmas lights all among the company's best-sellers, Mr McCarthy says the chain may soon consider selling homewares, fancy dress and party items online.
And he has no fears about economic recovery denting profits.
"People are proud to be savvy and save money," he said. "We are a good business in a recession but perform very well in good times as well."
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