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Poundland sales near £1 billion

Poundland racked up nearly £1 billion in annual sales today as it set out plans to add 60 stores and create another 1,000 jobs over the next financial year.

The West Midlands-based business, which has 528 stores in the UK and Ireland, believes it can target another 750,000 shoppers through the expansion, which also includes Spain through a pilot of ten stores over two years.

The firm has long-term ambitions for 1,000 outlets and said that regardless of improved economic and consumer confidence in the UK the trends which have helped it grow over the last five to six years were set to continue.

In its annual results today, total sales rose 13.3% to £997.8 million, with like-for-like sales up 1.9% in the year to March 30. Underlying pre-tax profits rose 23.5% to a record £36.8 million.

The retailer, which sells goods such as Cadbury's chocolate and Fairy washing-up liquid for £1, opened its first store in Burton-on-Trent in 1990.

It operates more than 30 shops under the Dealz brand in Ireland and yesterday extended the format to Spain with a store opening in Torremolinos.

The growth is being supported by a third, purpose built 350,000 sq.ft. distribution centre at Harlow, which will open later in the year.

The company's shares, which listed on the stock market earlier this year, opened 4% higher today after the results bettered City expectations.

Poundland added that sales in the first quarter of the new financial year, covering the period to June 29, jumped by 18% to £262.6 million, helped by the later Easter, the opening of nine new stores and stronger like-for-like sales.

Chief executive Jim McCarthy said: "We believe the shopping behaviours adopted during the last five or six years will continue as the economy and consumer confidence improve and that Poundland is well placed to benefit further from increased footfall and discretionary spending."

Bottom-line profits fell by 40.7% to £13.9 million due to an increase in charges, primarily associated with the group's stock market flotation.

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