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Poundland, thousands of items - mostly one pound!
Member Name: julwhite
Advantages: Lots of bargains to be had
Disadvantages: Can be busy, sometimes items are more than a pound!
This review is for the chain of stores, Poundland, which as the name suggests is a retailer which specialises in selling items for just one pound. The chain was started in April 1990 by Dave Dodd and Stephen Smith, and there are now 254 stores at the time of writing employing around seve thousand people.
I've been to a few Poundland stores across the country, and each store has some products which are individual to it. This is because they have two different types of stock, the end of line or remainder stock from manufacturers who just want to get rid of it, and the standard stock which is produced specifically for Poundland. This means that there are always different products to be seen in the store, but if you want end of line items, you'd be advised to get them in one go, as they might not be seen in store again!
The stock in each Poundland does vary, but in general there are sections for books, stationery, toiletries and cosmetics, car and bike products, food and drink, batteries and consumables, kitchen and there are also special displays during special occasions, such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween and so on.
The quality of the products does vary enormously, as there are such a wide range of products which are being sold by so many manufacturers. Of course the quality on many items isn't great, but if you're only paying a pound, then you know not to expect too much! On some occasions I've been able to find some car related products which are from known brands which were normally much more expensive and were really good buys.
One thing that I am pleased that has changed in the last couple of years is Poundland's receipts and point of sales systems. I was always bemused as to how they knew what to sell, as the staff would simply type in "6 products = 6 pounds" so it must have been a stock taking nightmare to work out what was selling and when. I always noticed that my receipts would say something like 1905, as the millennium bug had slightly affected them, and it couldn't produce receipts with the year 2005 on them! However, since then, everything has changed and new point of sales systems have been introduced.
The staff in the store are generally polite and helpful, but they do look quite exasperated sometimes at trying to stack shelves when hundreds of customers are surrounding them. They have always been helpful however when asked where products are in the store, although the checkout staff sometimes seem quite harrassed as well!
You can pay by card in Poundland, which can be quite helpful, but you have to spend over five pounds to be able to do so. Cheques aren't accepted, but cash is the way that nearly everyone I have ever seen in the store pays. Carrier bags are free, so they don't try and charge extra by adding on extra pennies for every bag that you want.
Nearly every item in the store is one pound (as you'd expect!), but it can sometimes be a little confusing as some items are two for a pound, or some items are just marked as being 50p. Every now and then I see an item which is five pounds, but this is rare, and to be honest, seems to confuse the whole structure of the store where it's nice and easy knowing that everything is a pound.
The big disadvantage for me in the store is the number of people in it! In my local store, the floor space isn't that big, and so if the queues start to back up, which they usually do, they start to flow into the products area, so people can't see the products, or try and barge past. The barging and shoving in Poundland is worse than most other stores, but it is a different set-up, so this can be partly understood. However if I just want one item, I probably won't go in, too much effort to get just one item, queue up and so on!
It will be interesting to see how the chain will develop in the future given that the prices in the store can't really be increased without a large change in the nature and structure of the store. I have though noticed that over the years in some products, such as envelopes and batteries, and no doubt many other items, that the number of products in each pack has been reduced as the price can't be increased.
Overall, definitely worth a visit if you haven't been, as are the rival chain 99p stores, which both have lots of bargains should you visit on a regular basis, especially the end of line and clearance items. You might have to fight through some crowds, but the stores are definitely worth a look, especially if you want some cheap presents!
Summary: Definitely worth a look if you haven't been!