/ Shopping

Why I love Poundland

Poundland store

At a time of retail crisis, Poundland stores are popping all over, selling everything from books to beans for just one small golden nugget. Some sneer at the pile-it-high approach, but Poundland’s profits show it works.

The gutted Woolworths on my local high street has played host to a number of fly-by-night shops in the last year.

First an overpriced furniture and art store, then a mirror emporium and finally a shop that seemed to sell nothing very useful. Then two weeks ago, everything changed. Poundland arrived.

The good news about Poundland

Poundland, which recently posted profits of £20m, has made the humble pound shop respectable. It stocks branded goods from big names such as Heinz Baked Beans, Colgate toothpaste and Kodak batteries.

Turn the aisle and you’ll find autobiographies from the likes of Strictly Come Dancing’s Alesha Dixon, reading glasses and an array of Halloween goods that’d make Dracula shudder. And, as they say: ‘Yes, everything’s a pound.’

So what’s not to love? With fears of a double-dip recession looming and more and more of us searching out ways to save money, somewhere that stocks food staples and stocking fillers at a single low price is perfect. And even better, Poundland’s success has made retail giants such as Tesco sit up and start checking its prices and implementing its own budget ranges.

With 299 stores nationwide and more planned, Poundland looks like it’s about to become as big as Woolies was in the 60s and 70s – but is this really such a good thing?

Can cheap really be cheerful?

Dissenters have commented on the sources of the products, accusing the company of exploiting foreign workers. This was vehemently denied in a recent interview with CEO Jim McCarthy who said: ‘This happened with a new supplier [which had] outsourced the work, which we’d prohibited in our agreement… it was brought to our attention, we investigated and cancelled our order.’

Others say there’s nothing of real value in a pound shop. That seems to smack of snobbery – as a quick trip round any Poundland would prove. I recently picked up three workbooks for my five year-old and a pack of Lemsip cold and flu tablets there. He’s doing better at school and my cold cleared up in no time – I’d say that was £4 well spent.

The argument from the very frugal against Poundland is that you can get some of the products cheaper elsewhere – which is probably true – but not under one roof. They also say that you end up spending more because you buy more than you need. Again possibly true, you do need to exercise some discipline.

So as you see, I’m a fan. But how about you? Are you in favour of the pile-it-high, sell-it-cheap philosophy – or is Poundland just a blight on the British high street?

Sophie Gilbert says:
19 October 2010

I think Poundland is like every other cheap shop. Sift through the dross and the things that aren’t bargains and you can find items of interest and at a reasonable price. Snobs be hanged, or give their apparent surfeit of money to charity.

I’m a fan of Poundland – and 99p shops.- that are almost side by side here. Both remind me of the old fashioned Woolworths – (not the later ones) where everything was cheap and cheerful . I’ve bought some excellent tools that have lasted 10x cheaper than other shops – Artists canvases at 15 times cheaper – Dog toys 5 or 6 times cheaper.(actually better than a famous pet place)

Even the food is fine – though not items I would normally buy.

They are two shops I always visit – somewhat different from Woolworths

There have been one or two devices that were very shoddy – but they refund the price.

There are some great tech bargains to be had at Poundland:
I’m always recommending friends buy the USB SD card reader for… £1.
And they do neoprene laptop sleeves for … £1.
And iPod/iPhone USB charging cables for just a pound.
HDMI cables for a pound aren’t bad either, although at a metre long they can be a tad short for all applications.

Thanks for the above comment – i didn’t know that USB Charging cables for iPhones could be found in Poundland! I shall keep my eyes open for such a shop.

I don’t tend to use them generally but in part because
a. I don’t know of one local to me and
b. I usually find them quite cramped, chaotic and a little unclean

which i find difficult to tolerate!

Poundland opened its 300th store yesterday in Cirencester – high street domination continues! It aims to open another 50 stores this year, which is reported to create 2,000 jobs – come cheery news as so many jobs are being cut.

xanadu says:
31 October 2010

fat sam is an idiot.

im an international student. at home our family has 5 cars and a maid (thats how it is back home) and as a student here i shop at poundland for kitchen related things, cleaning stuff, and toiletries. i’ve never been on a bus before back in my country, but i use them here. i dont get what the problem is.

Thanks for your comment xanadu. While we’re up for healthy debate and differing opinions please remember that we don’t tolerate abusiveness between commenters. Check out our commenting guidelines to see exactly what we expect here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines/

7 day weekend says:
2 January 2011

Fat sam – i like you was a poundland disprover and have not been on a bus for years.But 1 day i read a column about them in my weekly email from moneymail.com and realised they do have quality products . My concern was that their products because of the price must be out of date – but no i was totally wrong.From the big recognised companies they buy cancelled orders & lines that have been over produced for whatever reason.Amongst other things i buy 5 tins of dog food for £2 which in Tesco would cost £3-30p.they are also excellent on toothpaste soap & household cleaning products.

Fat Sam – The last time I used a bus was in 1963 (when the snow closed roads in London) – yet I visit both Poundland and 99p shops weekly – I cannot see any connection whatever between the two things in any way. Unless you do use them then a worthwhile opinion cannot be formed.

So far items bought by me in both shops are of similar reasonable quality as those bought in other shops at normally lower prices – Incidentally both Poundland and 99p Shops are found on exactly the same high streets as Tescos and Sainsburys – it has nothing to do with hiigh street rents except in the minds of a certain section of society. . The tiny numbers of refunds I’ve obtained were as easy to obtain in Poundland as Tescos – Quite frankly I find buying from 99p Shops far nicer than Sainsburys .- In fact if 99p shops sold the same groceries as Sainsburys – I would permanently change shops.

I think you have to use common sense here – there are certainly a lot of bargains to be found, but for things like tools you need to be a bit more careful. I always knew a set of masonry bits for £1 weren’t going to last long, and sure enough they didn’t, about one hole each! Similarly a set of craft knives for £1 when branded ones are several pounds each was just plain dangerous – handles and blades snapped under fairly modest pressure. The old slogan ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ comes to mind.

The Poundland in my local town has air con, and is a joy to shop in the summer for that reason alone. Other bigger more expensive stores dont have air con and I avoid them like the plague, floor fans are just not the same.

I love Poundland and agree that a certain amount of browsing needs to be done, what might be there one week, might not be there the next. I bought some lovely Christmas decs there last Christmas. The staff are always pleasant, and due to the purchases people are making are always restocking the shelves. If only they sold clothes as wel!!!???