NEARLY half of shoppers think budget stores are just as good as their upmarket counterparts, a survey has revealed.
The poll found 48 per cent of Brits who have visited a discount shop in the last year believe they can compete with traditional retailers when it comes to quality.
And it is not just the value which keeps shoppers coming back, as only a third agreed they would only shop at discount stores if they were not as well off as they are currently are.
Figures released by Aldi and Lidl for 2012 showed they had stronger sales than all the traditional retailers – apart from Waitrose – which concentrates on the premium end of the market.
Usually budget chains see a drop in sales over Christmas due to shoppers “trading up” but in 2012 they managed to keep customers coming through the doors by introducing their own- brand premium festive ranges at discount prices.
Emma Herbert, research manager at Canadean Custom Solutions – which carried out the survey – said: “What we are now seeing is discount stores targeting areas where they have been historically weaker, notably quality and range”.
The study of more than 2,000 people found bargain hunters, of all income levels, were impressed that cheaper stores increased their product ranges.
The move follows previous criticism that they offered limited choice compared to other non-discount supermarkets.
Ms Herbert said: “Whilst discounters initially thrived from low price and value offerings, the opportunity for continued growth will come from focusing on an expanded range of quality products which will enable them to challenge the traditional retailers.”