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Discount stores embrace e-commerce

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Discount shoppers can now buy goods online from Poundstretcher. The high street store has opened for business online, allowing shoppers to buy goods from mattresses and furniture to hubcaps.

Prices range from under a pound to well over £150, while delivery costs from £3.50 for a small item to £11 for an extra large one, and its standard delivery is three days. The site is no thing of beauty, the service isn't worldbeating - but it's functional. But the launch makes Poundstretcher one of the UK discount sector's few multichannel retailers.

For while many of its rivals in the sector have their own information websites, this one is a rarity for allowing shoppers to buy online. Taking a look at the websites run by other discount retailing names, from www.primark.co.uk and www.lidl.co.uk to www.poundland.co.uk, the only one we found that sells online is TK Maxx. The discount fashion and homewares retailer now has its online site, which has also in recent days launched a social media promotion around its sponsorship of the Channel 4 show Frock Me.

Our view: So is the future of the high street discount store a multichannel one? We can see the logic in the TK Maxx launch, and that goes for other discount fashion brands too. For Poundstretcher the convenience factor will be in allowing large items such as furniture to be delivered quickly. Unlike other rival stores, it's not limited to selling goods for a fixed £1. And that may be what gives it a particular edge in this market.
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