Discount stores don't always offer best value
Discount euro stores aren't always the best place to find a bargain.
While 'pound shop' style stores have mushroomed all over the country, a survey by the Irish Independent has found they are not always cheaper than mainstream supermarkets.
We priced a sample basket of goods from Ireland's two biggest discount chains - Euro Giant and Dealz - and found four items were marginally dearer than similar items from Tesco.
However, five items came out cheaper, and sometimes substantially so.
At Dealz we found Fairy Original 383ml washing up liquid costing €1.49, while in Tesco you could get 433ml of this product for €1.61 which is slightly better value per millilitre.
And Dealz had kitchen foil 10m x 45cm costing €1.49, whereas Tesco's Strong Kitchen Foil in the same size cost €1.29.
Euro Giant had a two-pack of Dove Beauty Cream Bar soaps for €1.50 - but you could get these for €1.47 in Tesco. And a box of Kellogg's cornflakes at Euro Giant costs €1.50 for 250g, while you can get a 500g box at Tesco for €2.70 - although it's temporarily reduced to €2.
Dealz boss Jim McCarthy, who is chief executive of its Poundland parent company, told the Irish Independent he would investigate the two cases where Dealz came out dearer as the company was committed to offering the best value and tracked supermarket prices to ensure it did.
"From time to time a better deal will turn up somewhere else as we sell out our remaining stock, but we will go back to our suppliers and see what's available at a better price, or in a bigger size," he said.
Dealz has opened 42 stores in Ireland since it started up four years ago. And the pickup in the economy is not hitting business, as increased footfall in retail centres drives sales, with an increasingly middle class clientele, said Mr McCarthy.
"In hard times consumers turn to value offerings but the difference between this recession and the last two is it's gone on longer and it's made these habits stick."
The bestselling items in Ireland include reconditioned DVDs, Johnson's Cotton Buds, milk, Finish dishwasher tablets and greeting cards.
"You like your sweets as we sell twice as many 170g Toblerones as we sell milk, and we sell a lot of milk," Mr McCarthy said.
Dealz had also sold 170,000 six-packs of Tayto, 214,000 six-packs of Silk Soft toilet rolls and over three million batteries.
Eurogeneral, which operates 77 Euro Giant stores and supplies around 400 independent stores, is the biggest player in the market. It did not comment on its prices.
Tesco said it was "committed to giving our customers the best overall value, range and experience every time they shop in Tesco" and hundreds of product prices had been reduced through its 'Staying Down' campaign.