Hemel clothes shop to appear on TV tonight

Sophie Bartley, store manager at Pep&Co in Hemel Hempstead. Photo: Fergus Burnett
Sophie Bartley, store manager at Pep&Co in Hemel Hempstead. Photo: Fergus Burnett
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A familiar Hemel face will become a small-screen star on prime-time telly tonight (Thursday, May 12).

Sophie Bartley, store manager at Pep&Co in Hemel’s Marlowes Shopping Centre, will feature in tonight’s fifth episode of ITV1 series Bargain Shop Wars.

From 8.30pm, viewers can watch how Sophie’s fashion retail store comes under scrutiny as being closest to Pep&Co HQ in Watford, it is the one most visited by management.

For Sophie and her area manager, Heidi Bowen, it’s really important to keep the shop looking perfect in case there is a surprise visit from head office.

However, this has become trickier of later, as Sophie is pregnant.

With her maternity leave fast approaching, it’s time for Heidi to find a new store manager to cover Sophie’s absence – but will anyone be able to fill Sophie’s boots?

Sophie, who opened the shop in July last year, said: “We’re so excited to be part of this TV show, and it’s great to see Hemel Hempstead having the national spotlight it deserves.

“Everyone at the store would like to say thank you to our customers and the town for welcoming us into the community, so make sure you tune in as you may see some familiar faces!”

The series will go behind the scenes in to how the retailer launched 50 stores in just over 50 days last summer.

Episodes will feature the people, places and faces that come together to launch in the highly competitive discount fashion market, and look at the challenges faced by the start-up and how other high street retailers react.

Adrian Mountford, Pep&Co managing director, said: “Hemel Hempstead was one of the select few locations to start our journey in, as we felt it was the right place for us.

“It’s the Pep&Co people who really make the business what it is, and Sophie and her team really do go the extra mile in making Pep&Co a success, delivering high quality, low price family fashion to our customers in Hemel Hempstead.”

Commissioned for ITV by factual programming commissioning editor Priya Singh, Bargain Shop Wars is produced by Crackit North – led by Kerry Brierley who originally brought the BBC’s Pound Shop Wars to TV screens.