Single price point retailer 99p Stores is rolling out frozen food as well as fresh fruit and veg, transforming it into a “one-stop shop” for groceries and bringing it into greater competition with the supermarkets.
Fish fingers, chicken nuggets and pizza as well as ready meals are being introduced in the retailer’s larger stores, equating to about 60% to 70% of the 193-strong estate.
Commercial director Hussein Lalani said 99p Stores’ grocery offering is strong enough to compete against the grocers. The retailer now sells ambient, chilled and convenience alongside frozen and fresh in a limited number of stores.
Lalani said: “I do think a lot of families see us as a one-stop shop. Those supermarkets that have been charging two and three pounds a throw for everyday essentials such as washing-up liquid, toothpaste, tea and coffee have lost credibility.”
The roll-out of frozen food, which sits alongside 99p Stores’ standard convenience range, follows “very encouraging” trials held in autumn last year.
99p Stores launched a fresh fruit and veg offering at the beginning of the year across a number of stores and will develop its supply chain to expand the offer.
Rivals such as Poundland also offer a grocery range but they are largely limited to convenience foods such as crisps, fizzy drinks and tinned foods.
99p Stores’ pre-tax profit rose 13% to £7.2m in the year to January 31 – a slowdown on the previous year when profits rocketed 350%.
Like-for-likes advanced 3.7% and revenue surged 18% to £270m.
Lalani said: “The previous year we had exceptional growth. We moved into a new warehouse and the company benefited from economies of scale.”
99p Stores opened 38 new stores in the period and has added a further 13 stores in the current year. The value retailer said it aims to launch more than 100 stores over the next two years.