Pandemonium as 99p shop axes its half-price sale

21 January 2014  COPS were called to calm protests after 99p shop announced a sudden end to its half-price sale.
Crowds of shoppers refused to leave after bosses said they weren’t closing after all, and prices were back to normal.
They said they’d re-negotiated their lease at the last minute, and the sale was off.
There were angry scenes as shoppers at the 99p Store on Regent Street, Wrexham, north Wales, insisted they wouldn’t budge until the prices came down again.
Police had to seal the doors to stop more shoppers pouring in.
After a two-hour stand-off, bosses finally defused the situation (on Mon 20 Jan) with a “buy one, get one free” offer.
Shopper Sharon Roberts, from Rhosnesni, said: “I was in there for nearly two hours queuing to get to the till. Then the manager took the posters down from the window.
“People were absolutely furious and that’s why the police were called. Tempers were flaring and people were shouting. The shop finally said people could have items on a buy one get one free.”
Another angry shopper Phil Smith, from Brymbo, said: “They dropped all the prices to 50p until January 28, and there were queues of about 40 to 50 people all day. Then the manager came around saying everything is back up to 99p.
“I am so angry, you can’t do that, not when people are in the queue to pay. The police had to come because the people were not having it and not leaving.”
Mandy Malloy, from Acrefair, said she had been queuing with a full basket of items for nearly two hours when the news filtered through prices had been put back up to 99p.
“I just dropped my basket where I was and fought my way out through the crowds,” she said. “It is the principle of it, they said everything was 50p, not 99p. It was a joke.”
Mother Lorna Jones, from Caia Park, had to take her young child out of the store as he had become distressed by the scenes.
“It all kicked off,” she said. “Nobody in that queue was willing to leave or pay the 99p. People were so angry.”
Yesterday morning the store had posters in the window saying prices on all items had been slashed to 50p until January 28, when the store was due to shut down because the lease on the building was up.
The sale saw crowds queuing throughout the store and even out onto the street as shoppers rushed to get their bargains.
But customers were angered when the manager of the store took down the posters and told them all goods were back up to full 99p price.
The store later confirmed that was as a lease had been agreed after talks with the landlord, safeguarding 33 jobs.
But customers refused to move as more poured into the shop, before staff then closed the doors, not letting anyone else in.
Through the store windows shoppers could be seen remonstrating and arguing with staff members yesterday afternoon.
Police were called in to deal with the sale fallout, with four police officers seen going into the shop, while one stayed outside and directed customers away.
Tony Brown, chief operating officer for 99p Stores said: “We genuinely regret the way this was handled. We should have closed the doors and let everybody get out with their items.
“But we are happy we have now arranged for the store to stay open and the jobs have been secured.”
Michael McGivern, spokesman for North Wales Police, said: “We were asked to assist after the store became very crowded. The store was temporarily closed.”