December 6 2013 Latest news:
Paul Geater and Matt Bunn
Friday, October 25, 2013
A third bargain basement store opens its doors today in a prime Ipswich shopping district, sparking a cost-cutting price war in the town.
The new 99p Stores branch in Carr Street means there is now a trio of similar shops just yards apart – with the latest addition standing opposite Poundland and Yippee! It’s 99p.
The company has taken over the former QD unit which, at nearly 20,000 square foot, makes it the retailer’s biggest unit in the country.
Thirty jobs will be created with the opening of the new store. The QD shop that previously occupied the site employed 27 – some moved to jobs in other stores run by the company including its other Ipswich branch in St Matthew’s Street.
Concerns have been raised by some shoppers about the future of the street, which already consists of four charity shops, two betting shops and a small casino.
But ahead of the shop’s first day of business, borough leaders stressed they are doing what they can to attract a bigger mix of shops to open in Ipswich.
Borough Council leader, David Ellesmere, said: “In these difficult times people are looking for good value from this kind of store.
“However we are aware that Ipswich needs a good mix of retailers to be able to attract shoppers from a wide area, and the borough will be continuing to try to attract more businesses to the town centre.”
Ipswich Central boss, Paul Clement, added: “The like-for-like replacement in this location is, perhaps, not surprising.
“The long-term future for this area and for the streets around lie in our recently unveiled plans for a smaller scale redevelopment of the so-called Mint Quarter site, incorporating purpose built retail units in a progression from Buttermarket, some residential content and a new multi-storey car park.
“This is both viable and achievable and is the kick-start that the area has needed for years whilst developers have, instead, pursued totally uneconomic, large scale retail alternatives.”
The 99p Stores chain was founded in 2001 by Hussein Lalani and has grown rapidly over the last 12 years, especially since the recession hit.
Everything on sale in the store costs 99p and Mr Lalani said has now become “trendy” to shop at the Value Brand – he is confident it will be welcomed by Ipswich shoppers.
He said: “The public has become rightly transfixed on value – and we are delighted to oblige.
“The days of the public paying three times over the odds for everyday basics like branded toothpaste, coffee and washing-up liquid are a thing of the past.”
The company has spent £250,000 on fitting out the store, which has been a 24/7 operation.