Poundland sales pass £1bn mark

POUNDLAND, Europe’s largest single-price discount retailer, said it expected to meet full-year profit expectations as a rise in fourth quarter sales took annual revenue over the £1bn mark for the first time.

Poundland, which trades from 547 UK stores, 41 in Ireland under the Dealz fascia, and is running a trial in Spain, said sales in the 13 weeks to March 29 grew 7.1 per cent at constant currency, versus growth of 10.2 per cent in its third quarter. For the 12 months, total revenue excluding Spain grew 11.8 per cent at constant currency to just over £1.1bn, the firm said, and rose 2.4 per cent on a same store comparison.

With recession-era shopping habits entrenched, discount retailers, both in general merchandise and food, are taking sales from Britain’s “big four” supermarkets.

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Poundland said it had opened 60 net new stores in the UK and Ireland and had a strong pipeline of openings for the new year. Last week, the group learned it would likely have to sell some stores to avoid its proposed £55m takeover of smaller rival 99p Stores being referred for an in-depth investigation by British competition regulators. Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said the deal, which would add 251 stores to Poundland’s estate, could result in a substantial cut to competition and would face a further probe unless acceptable undertakings were offered by April 16.

Poundland said it would make an announcement in due course.

Analysts are on average forecasting a pre-tax profit for 2014-15 of £44m.