Poundland

Poundland is urging us all to ditch the supermarkets, and do our weekly shop at Poundland instead. Its 'Switch to Poundland and Save' campaign suggests you "switch your shopping to Poundland who has everything you need including top brands - you will soon see it makes all the difference."

But can this really save you cash, and is it viable?


Poundland is one of Britain's few retail success stories of the last 20 years. It opened its first store in Burton-upon-Trent in December 1990, and in the intervening years it has become Europe's biggest single-price discounter, with over 400 stores. In the last trading year it made a profit of £18.3 million (up 50% from a year earlier).

Weekly shop?

Every week four and a half million people visit the stores, but now it is trying to muscle in on the supermarkets.

It is more feasible to do a grocery shop there than you might imagine. The store now sells a range of groceries, from Kellogg's cereals to Heinz beans and Warburtons loaves. There's a range of different products from fizzy drinks to pasta and cleaning products, so it may be possible to stock up on everything aside from the fresh and frozen products.

Of course, if you want something really specific and fairly niche, you'll have more luck in a massive supermarket than a smaller Poundland, but if it's bread and milk you're after, you'll find it.

The question is whether it will save you any money...

Saving?

It's worth bearing in mind that some manufacturers make packages specifically for the store to enable them to sell them for £1. Take milk, for example, it's usually still sold in pints. However, Poundland sells milk as part of a 2-for-£1 offer, in bottles of 750ml. Toblerone was famously willing to knock off a triangle for the store in order to keep the price at £1.

Poundland is keen to point out that it doesn't make unfair comparisons, and that all sizes are clearly labelled, but its worth knowing if you're planning to make some casual comparisons yourself.

It's also worth highlighting that these things may cost no more elsewhere. Take Ambrosia Devon Custard - it's two for £1 at Poundland, which is currently matched by Tesco and Asda. Alternatively, take Flash Bathroom spray - it's £1 at Asda and Ocado, and on offer at 99p from Sainsbury's. And the milk... it's 1500ml for £1 in Poundland, but 2270ml for £1 in Asda.

In many cases Poundland is among the cheapest, but it's not always the best value.

Flaw

And here's the problem with a campaign like this. Poundland is rightly highlighting that it is a serious contender for some of your weekly shop. In many instances, if you add Poundland to the shops you check prices in, you will find that the discount store comes out matching or beating the cheapest elsewhere. The trouble is that you can't rely on it. You need to do the legwork (checking the pack sizes and the prices) to be sure.

The other problem is that because it isn't included in any of the online price checkers, you'll have to go into the store itself to see what it's charging.

Plus, of course, once you venture into Poundland, there's a chance you'll be gripped with the 'it's only a pound' mania and come out with half a ton of plastic tat too.

But what do you think? Do you shop at Poundland for your weekly groceries? Would you? Let us know in the comments.



More stories