UK's Poundland first quarter sales jump 18 pct

LONDON, July 3 Thu Jul 3, 2014 2:23am EDT

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - Poundland, the British discount retailer that listed its shares on the London Stock Exchange in March, said on Thursday it had made a strong start to its new financial year as it met profit forecasts for 2013-14.

The firm, one of a raft of store groups to float this year and capitalise on Britain's gradually improving economy, said on Thursday sales in its first quarter to June 29 increased 18 percent to 262.6 million pounds ($446.8 million), helped by new store openings and a later Easter this year.

"We are confident of further progress through the year whilst recognising our critical third quarter lies ahead of us," said Chief Executive Jim McCarthy.

Poundland, which sells all its products at the single price point of 1 pound from over 530 UK stores, said it made an underlying post-tax profit of 27.3 million pounds in the year to March 30 - in line with analysts' forecasts, on sales of 997.8 million pounds, up 13.3 percent.

Underlying pretax profit rose 23.5 percent to 36.8 million pounds, while adjusted earnings per share increased 25.1 percent to 10.9 pence.

Shares in Poundland, which debuted at 300 pence on March 12 and peaked at 402 pence on the same day, closed Wednesday at 328.7 pence, valuing the business at 821 million pounds. ($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young)

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