* FY underlying post-tax profit 27.3 mln stg, up 25.1 pct
* FY sales 997.8 mln stg, up 13.3 pct
* Q1 sales 262.6 mln stg, up 18.0 pct
* Plans 60 new stores in 2014-15
* Shares rise up to 6.4 pct
(Adds detail, CEO, analyst comment, shares)
LONDON, July 3 Sales growth at Poundland
, the British single price retailer that listed on the
London Stock Exchange in March, accelerated in its first
quarter, helped by new store openings, a later Easter and
shoppers' growing love of discounters.
The company, one of a raft of retailers 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).
That compares to growth of 13.3 percent to 997.8 million
pounds in the firm's year to March 30, which was in line with
the company's previous guidance.
"We are confident of further progress through the year
whilst recognising our critical (Christmas) third quarter lies
ahead of us," Chief Executive Jim McCarthy said.
The retailer's shares, which debuted at 300 pence on March
12 and peaked at 402 pence on the same day, were up 14.5 pence
at 344 pence at 0848 GMT, valuing the business at about 860
Discounters are growing in popularity in Britain even though
the economy is improving, as habits formed in the downturn
stick. Discount grocers Aldi and Lidl
grew sales by 35 percent and 22 percent over the last three
months, according to industry data published on Tuesday.
"Behavioural changes of shoppers are benefiting the value
sector," McCarthy told reporters. "Value is now absolutely a
badge of honour for customers across the spectrum," he said,
noting that 22 percent of Poundland's customers are now from the
more affluent "AB" demographic.
Poundland, which sells all its products at the single price
of 1 pound, opened a net nine new stores in the first quarter
period, taking the total to 537 stores, while sales at stores
open over a year were "north of" the 1.9 percent growth achieved
in the 2013-14 year, the CEO said.
Poundland made an underlying post-tax profit of 27.3 million
pounds in the year to March 30 - in line with analysts'
forecasts. 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.
Poundland plans to open a net 60 stores in the 2014-15 year,
investing 20 million pounds and creating about 1,000 jobs.
Having opened in Ireland in 2011 the group kicked-off the
second leg of its international expansion under the Dealz name
with the opening on Wednesday of its first Spanish store in
The firm plans to open an initial 10 stores in Spain over
two years and is also analysing other possible territories.
Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley raised his pretax
profit forecast for 2014-15 by 3 percent to 44 million pounds
and expects the firm to pay a maiden full year dividend of 3.8
($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds)
(Reporting by James Davey; editing by Sarah Young and Jane