Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 14:26 UK

Discount shops thrive in downturn

Hussein Lalani explains how his customer base has changed during the downturn

The co-founder of a chain of discount stores has said his business is thriving in the recession.

The 99p Store has opened its 99th branch in a former Woolworths store in Ashford, Kent, and is set to double its shops by the end of 2009.

Hussein Lalani said his business was now attracting customers who would not have used a discount store before.

Figures from retail analysts have shown London and the South East now has half the total discount stores in England.

The statistics from the Local Data Company also said there had been a 60% increase in discount stores across the country and there were now more than 450 in London and the South East region.

Mr Lalani said: The recession is giving us a chance to grow and attract new customers, who would not have decided to come into our stores before."

He said some of the stock being sold was clearance items from the failed retail chain Woolworths.

"Some of these products have been sourced directly from the far east or India, and some of the other products are clearance products.

"When Woolworths went bust, they had a lot of house-wares that were available in the market that people were trying to get rid of, and so we bought a lot of their stock."



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