The high street is changing. Jim McCarthy, Chief Executive of Poundland, said:

“There is a flight to value, no question. Consumer confidence is lower than I have ever known it. People are trying to spend less to maintain their lifestyles. We get a lot more A and B consumers through our doors now.” (The Times, 19 January 2009).

High Street stores such as Wilkinson which places emphasis on value and bargain stores such as Poundland stand to benefit with people changing where and how they purchase goods. Although Woolworths and its 807 stores have gone; other opportunists are rushing to fill the gap it has left. It seems the reluctance of many to buy at lower-price shops has changed in recent times and people are now happy to shop at stores offering value for money or bargain priced stores.

A few days ago, in Poole, Dorset – close to the millionaire residences of Sandbanks – a 99p shop opened opposite a £1 shop and shoppers rushed across the road from the £1 shop to save a penny at the new store! Consumer confidence is ebbing away but the new names are attracting their attention. (The Times, 19 January 2009).

Mr Lanani, the commercial director of 99p Stores said:”The person in the street has the same amount of money in their pocket as before, but their confidence has gone completely. People are worried about their job security, their mortgages, their bills. And they are coming to us, whereas before they would have turned up their noses.” (The Times, 19 January 2009).

Last week 99p Stores opened three new stores in London and expects to open as many as 30 more nationwide this year, taking its total number of stores to about 100. At a time when the retail sector is supposed to be in crisis, this is incredible growth. Poundland, with 202 stores and 6,400 employees, also plans to open another 30 stores this year and has identified 650 possible shop sites in the UK.

Read the Times 100 case studies on Wilkinson and how it matches its marketing strategy to the changing demands of the market.