ITV 1’s Bargain Shop Wars – Episode Review
Brand new ITV1 documentary Bargain Shop Wars aired its first episode last night, going behind the scenes of discount fashion retailer Pep&Co as it launched in local towns across the UK last year.
The first episode captured the initial surge of shopper interest instore as well as offering an, albeit far from in-depth, insight into the early problems that the business faced after launch.
In many ways, it was disappointing that there was a distinct lack of focus on the physical launch activity surrounding the stores within this first episode – instead skipping ahead to the middle of a busy trading day. It resulted in displacement, and a sense that this was in fact the second or third episode of the six-part series, rather than the first.
A large part of the episode followed Pep&Co managing director, Adrian Mountford and his enthusiastic involvement within the business. It offered a glimpse into the management process and the quick reactive change of tactics needed in order to meet customer demand and fend of competitor activity – reminiscent of the constant price war that takes place within the grocery sector.
Though entertaining, it was more comedic reality TV rather than an informative watch, with staff members and customers either ‘Playing up to the camera’ or being directed throughout.
More interestingly – having been filmed last year – the store portrayal was in stark contrast to our own recent experience within Pep&Co’s Kettering store, where the non-TV reality was one that was far removed from the hive of shopper activity seen in last night’s episode – replaced instead by just a few stray customers and racks of product on sale rails.