Competition between traders in Petersfield is set to hot up with the opening of a new store – with just six shopping days remaining before Christmas.
One of the many vacant premises in the town centre is to be taken over by discount chain store The 98p Shop, which has moved in in an effort to undercut the popular 99p Store.
A spokesman for the company said: “We firmly believe there is a market for our style of store which undercuts more expensive retailers such as The 99p Store, while retaining the ability to provide shoppers with what they want.
“We’re not in competition with stores like The 99p Store – we are catering for a slightly different market. We firmly believe that, especially at this time of year, there is sufficient demand for products which last only a few hours before falling apart or don’t work at all.
“If people want longevity in their products or object to sawdust in their biscuits and cookies then they should stick to more expensive products available elsewhere, such as The 99p Store.
“But at The 98p Shop we are confident we can fob our customers off with any old rubbish.”
He added: “We can afford to price our products so low because we have very few overheads: no permanent base, very little stock and a distinct lack of quality. We have a niche market and Christmas is our ideal time.”
Branches of The 98p Shop can normally be found at markets across the south at this time of year and a spokesman for Trading Standards warned: “We are aware of The 98p Shop – which should not be confused whatsoever with The 99p Store which offers true bargains, particularly those big boxes of biscuits and Danish cookies which are ideal for sharing around the office.
“Not to mention the big boxes of toffees, the great deals on carbonated drinks and … oh yes, The 98p Shop. Buyer beware is our mantra as far as these people are concerned. As long as you don’t mind food with absolutely zero nutritional value or edible content for that matter, batteries with no power, and small toys covered in highly toxic paint, you should be fine.”
The representative for Petersfield Town’s International Traders (PTiTs), haberdasher and jeweller, Matt Tress, was surprisingly unmoved by news of the new store.
“Personally I couldn’t give a toss,” he said. “They don’t sell jewellery or whatever haberdashery is, so I’m in the clear. And as long as their pikey vans don’t stop people gaining access to my shop I’m happy.
“It’s the bloody doughnut van I hate.”
*The respectable 99p Store would like to reiterate it is not connected in any way with The 98p Shop, which sells worthless crap and is fictitious anyway.