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99p store has them queuing for a bargain

PUBLISHED: 14:53 21 January 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 25 August 2010

AS WELL established stores sigh their last and fold due to the credit crunch, shoppers have been swarming to another ilk of shop.

AS WELL established stores sigh their last and fold due to the credit crunch, shoppers have been swarming to another ilk of shop.

Hundreds of bargain-minded shoppers queued outside a 99p Store that opened in Eltham High Street last Friday morning.

Offers at the store included a £9.99 tea set for - that's right - 99p, and apparently customers can't get enough. This was the 69th store to open since 2001.

Other businesses have tried to muscle in on this positive recession publicity, but Times Diary suspects most of it is wishful thinking to say the least.

B&Q phoned up the Kentish Times last week to say that enough insulation to envelop 18 houses had flown off shelves at its Belvedere store.

Yet things don't look too rosy for the DIY chain either. On January 13 it pulled out of its sponsorship of promising Olympians.

Perhaps if the cost-cutters among us are trying to cut their heating bills with insulation, at least the tinkers and fixers should be making a decent wage.

Not so, according to Peter Dinan, owner of Shoe Doctor in Walnuts Shopping Centre, Orpington.

"This is usually our busiest season. Not this year. My takings are down by at least a third in the last two months," grumbled the father of three.

Hardly surprising really - Times Diary gave 99p headquarters a ring to see whether they sell shoes, and guess what?

"Of course we do," said Jerry the press officer. "We've sold trainers, flip-flops, even boots."

They'll be putting the charity shops out of business next...

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