The demise of Woolworths has left a £1.7bn spending gap in the market. But not for long. Discount stores and poundstores are flocking to occupy old Woolworths sites and take their share of the pie.
Hussein Lalani, founder of 99p Stores, has been at the forefront of the stampede. His discout retailer has been growing exponentially since Lalani started on the property trail a year ago, following the Woolworths crash.
"My brother and I jumped in the car and we basically spent three days just driving around London with a camera and a notebook," he tells the FT. "Taking pictures, making notes, looking at the shops – we were even peering through windows, which was tricky since there were lots of boards up." The 99p Stores founder has since picked up more than 50 ex-Woolworths premises, with more in the deal stage. Other discount retailers B&M Bargains and Poundland have taken 45 and 27 respectively.