Bosses at cut-price city centre merchandiser Poundland have added the PEP&CO clothing line to its Canterbury store.
The switch in the St George’s Street outlet intensifies the war for trade in the low-cost fashion market – with Primark at the Marlowe Arcade in its sights.
Poundland said: “At PEP&CO, it’s our mission to ensure families in every community spend less on their clothing.
“We offer fresh and exciting fashion ranges for the whole family at amazingly low prices. We firmly believe in keeping things simple and fuss-free to keep our costs low – this in turn keeps prices down for our customers, so they really can spend a little, get a lot.”
Shopper Sophie Tupman, 23, from central Canterbury, said: “This will be interesting. I’ve used Poundland for household items since I was a student.
“But I had no idea they would be moving into the affordable clothes market. With money tight, many people need to watch their bank balances.
“And more choice for us in Canterbury can only be a good thing.”
Poundland change of direction comes after Primark recorded rapid growth in 2017. It registered a 13% increase in sales in the third quarter last year.
Meanwhile, shares in Primark’s parent company Associated British Foods, which also makes products such as Silver Spoon sugar and Ryvita crackers, rose by 6.2% to £31.
Nicholas Hyett, an analyst at financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown, says the cut-price clothing market is an attractive one for large stores like Primark, which is capitalising on demand.
“Primark’s disposable fashion at amazing prices remains popular with shoppers across Europe, with sales growth many high street retailers would kill for,” Mr Hyett said.
“Primark’s North American expansion finally seems to be gathering a head of steam too, with the two new US stores opened this quarter trading particularly well.”
Poundland in Canterbury occupies the postwar building which once housed the city’s Woolworth’s store. Primark opened in the former BHS store in 2014 and forms part of the Whitefriars shopping precinct.