99p Store 12

We retailers are rarely out of the headlines. Only last week I got a special mention on page 62 of the Westminster Court Reporter for one of my more environmentally friendly date code violations.

Bit of a cheek if you ask me. My mother taught me never to waste food, so for the life of me I can’t see why I shouldn’t sell on some of that slightly chambré Japanese Fugu fish. I marked it down, too, so in a way I made a respectful contribution to the cost of repatriating His Excellency’s remains to Tokyo.

Actually my slightly lethal fishy treats were on for just 99p. I got the idea from those pound shops that are springing up all over the place. Apparently they are more popular than Aldi and Lidl, just like Dr Shipman was more popular than Mr Sutcliffe and Mr Brady.

The concept is simple. Instead of sourcing what customers want and then adding your margin, you buy large quantities of random objects from pub car parks and then price them at a quid.

It’s magic. Alongside the items in my exotic new Asian Pathogens mod, customers can browse from a comprehensive range (one) of household essentials such as faulty electric fly swats, pigs’ feet in aspic, pocket calculators with an entirely unpredictable number 6 key, and novelty pencil sharpeners in the shape of Mrs Leadsom.

In percentage terms, my uplift on these items has been literally infinite, although admittedly the comps weren’t all that challenging. And footfall has dropped by almost as much. It may or may not be that my decision to delist milk, bread and fruit in order to make room has taken its toll, but that’s retail for you I guess. You can’t please all the people…