When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
99p Stores plans 70-shop expansion
Discount chain 99p Stores plans to ramp up expansion with another 70 shops over the next two years in a move set to create more than 2,000 retail jobs.
The group aims to grow its estate from 240 to 310 by the end of 2015 after securing an extra £25 million in financing from lender Barclays.
It will recruit around 30 staff for each shop, seeing it take on around another 2,100 workers.
The chain has already grown rapidly in recent years following the demise of Woolworths in 2008.
Together with competitor Poundland, bargain retailers are now a regular fixture on UK high streets.
Poundland is also said to be planning aggressive expansion, reportedly aiming to list on the stock market next year to raise cash to double its UK stores to around 1,000.
Nadir Lalani, f ounder and chief executive of 99p Stores, said: "I am very proud of the growth we have achieved with 99p Stores so far, but we know from the popularity of our stores and customer feedback that there is still a substantial opportunity to grow much further."
Mr Lalani started the chain in 2001 with one store in Holloway, London, helped by sons Hussein and Faisal, before opening a further three stores later that year.
Its estate now sees around two million customers pass through its doors each week and has expanded to include 30 Family Bargains outlets also offering toys and soft furnishings, as well as Euro 50 shops across Ireland.
Hussein Lalani, commercial director, said the new stores will be opened across the UK, but will see it expand further in Scotland, having recently opened its first two shops there.
It will largely focus new stores on high streets, but also look to take space in retail parks with its Family Bargains brand.
The Northampton-based firm recently hired former BHS manager Tony Brown as chief operating officer, who will help the group expand as well as bring a handful of underperforming stores up to scratch.
A recent property review found four shops were not trading as expected, but 99p Stores expects to be able to turn their fortunes around without the need for any closures.
Each shop typically stocks more than 5,000 99p products across food, drink, cosmetics, sweets, gardening, gifts, pet care, partywear, DIY and toiletries.