Discount retailer Poundland said fewer shoppers on the high street this Christmas hit its sales growth, and would result in profits coming towards the lower end of forecasts.
The group, which bought rival 99p stores in September and had warned of volatile Christmas trading two months ago, posted a 29 per cent rise in third quarter sales, excluding Spain, to £424.9m.
"The trading conditions that we experienced in November continued through the third quarter, with high street customer numbers down year on year and this has impacted sales growth," the group said on Thursday.
Analysts expect pre-tax profit for the year to the end of March to come in at £42.6m, with a range of forecasts between £39.8m and £45.8m.
Analyst Darren Shirley at Shore capital said: "In a third quarter trading update for the 13 weeks to December 27, Poundland has reported a continuation of the volatile trading environment first disclosed in the interim results outlook statement issued on November 19.
"Such volatile trading patterns, which were also a feature of the Next trading statement and the John Lewis Partnership six-week Christmas trading update, proved all the more challenging for Poundland as its third quarter is by far the group’s most important trading period, historically contributing around 50 per cent of the group’s annual earnings.