The number of discount shops such as Poundland and 99p Stores has surged by 60% during the downturn.

A combination of consumers’ determination to save money, the retailers’ expansion into more affluent areas and availability of premises following Woolworths’ demise have all contributed to the increase.

There are now 1,423 discount stores in Britain and for every one that has closed two have opened,research for the British Property Federation by the Local Data Company showed.

Locations in which the discounters now operate that are more upmarket than was typical in the past include Cambridge, Oxford, Stratford upon Avon and Tunbridge Wells, the BPF said.

BPF chief executive Liz Peace said: “Whatever opinions people may have about pound stores, they are growing in popularity and more importantly, generate jobs and footfall that benefits other retailers on the high street.

“The increase in discount stores represents a marked change in the psychology of shoppers. Rather than shopping for a particular good or commodity, people are going out with a set sum of cash knowing that they will be able to get a specific number of items. And in practice they often end up buying more.”