Poundland convert Cathy Ferrier is using a trip to the one-price retailer's 100th store, in Merry Hill shopping centre, Dudley, as a chance to buy some stationery for her daughters. She should be able to find a couple of good bargains--she is the company's trading director.
"Before, I used to shop more in supermarkets," she says. "Now I won't because I know how much things cost here."
The best way to describe Poundland is as a store with a little bit of everything. Gardening tools sit a few steps away from baby clothes, Walkers crisps multi-packs are around the corner from doorbells and Popstars the Rivals DVDs are down the aisle from wallpaper and Dulux paint. The only common factor is that the products are all selling for 1 [pounds sterling] each.
The retailer is currently indulging in a bit of shopping itself. Following a management buyout (MBO) in 2002, in association with private equity backer Advent International (the force behind Dollar Express in the US), it has been expanding at a rate of 30 stores per year, with a further 40 planned for' 2005. Profits have trebled, with the tills now ringing for 1.1 million customers a week and annual turnover at 225m [pounds sterling].
Ferrier, formerly WH Smith business unit director for books, was brought on board in June …