Dealz, the UK discount retailer with 61 stores in Ireland, will next month launch its Pep&Co clothing chain here, as it eyes taking share from market leader Penneys with an offering hung on jeans for €6.50 and €3.50 T-shirts.
Dealz, which operates in the UK as Poundland, will on February 23rd launch the first 10 Pep&Co outlets here, which will be co-located within existing Dealz stores including its flagship shop at Blanchardstown.
A further 20 Pep&Co outlets will be opened within Dealz stores before the end of the summer, which Dealz says will bring a total of 120 jobs. Much of the retail space required to accommodate its foray into discount clothing will be “liberated” by knocking through walls into storerooms, the company says.
Dealz says it is directly targeting market behemoth Penneys and has warned its discount competitor that customers “will be able to directly compare the quality and price” of their respective products.
In addition to its Irish flagship, other Dealz locations included in the rollout of the first 10 are Dundrum, Kilkenny, Naas, Newbridge and Castlebar. Locations pencilled in for the next 20 include Killarney, Galway, Letterkenny and Cork.
Barry Williams, managing director of Dealz/Poundland, said Pep&Co stores will typically take up “20 to 25 per cent” of the floor space of the Dealz outlets within which they are co-located. There are no plans to open stand-alone Pep&Co stores here, he confirmed.
Dealz outlets typically sell cut-price groceries, household products, stationery and toys. The Pep&Co rollout is its first foray into clothing in the Irish market. Dealz and Pep&Co are separately operated companies, with a common owner – South African company Pepkor.
“Most shoppers are familiar with food, general merchandise and clothing together in a value-oriented proposition,” said Mr Williams. “We’re the leading fixed-price retailer. So we’re’re breaking the walls in at some of our stores and we’re extending our offering into the clothing market.”
Pep&Co will stock a full range of men’s, women’s and children’s discount clothing “sourced from the [Indian] subcontinent”, Mr Williams said. In addition to the cut-price jeans and T-shirts, it will also stock, for example, men’s sweaters for €7.50, while some items in its range for young children are priced at between €1 and €2.
“You’ll be able to kit yourself out from head to toe for €15,” said Mr Williams. “Where else can you do that?” He said Dealz, which entered the market here during the recession in 2011, would continue seeking new Irish locations.
Mr Williams also criticised some of its competitors in the Irish market for targeting customers with "gimmicks" such as money-back vouchers – an apparent swipe at Dunnes Stores, which has issued millions of euro worth of vouchers in recent years to protect its market share against foreign-based rivals.