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Poundland reported like-for-like sales up 5% in the Christmas quarter, whilst decline in total sales reflects net store closures. In Europe, the first Dealz stores open in Poland.

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Discounter Poundland shares plans to extend its Pep&Co clothing concession to more than 150 new locations.

Roll-out follows Christmas success

Pep&Co MD Adrian Mountford reported that over Christmas Pep&Co sold 1m more units than during the whole first year of trading in standalone Pep&Co stores. This success echoes Poundland's strong trading performance over Christmas.  

Doubling the number of Pep&Co shop-in-shops to 300 is both a significant scale-up of operations in Poundland in the UK, and marks new entry into the Irish market via Dealz stores.

Roll-out will begin in February.

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Retail Analysis subscribers can visit the Poundland hub page for the latest news and insight.

The discounter reports a record Christmas performance, as well as securing funding independent of parent company Steinhoff, as investigations continue into accounting irregularities.

Best-ever Christmas performance

Poundland reported sales up 5.6% in the 12 weeks to Christmas Eve, including robust like-for-like sales up 6% in the three weeks before Christmas. These results are Poundland's best in its 27 years of trading, with managing director Barry Williams commenting "This Christmas, sales have even exceeded our high expectations", saying the business is entering the new year with "great confidence".

New source of funding enables Poundland to focus on future growth

As investigations into Steinhoff's accounts continue, Pepkor Europe has arranged a two year loan of £180m from a US investment firm, meaning Poundland, Dealz and Pep&Co are not dependent on capital from their parent company. Pepkor CEO Andy Bond said the funding "will enable us to reassure suppliers, implement our investment plans and secure the future of these successful businesses".

The latest update on Steinhoff's accounting situation revealed that discrepancies date back further than initially announced, with 2016 and 2015 results needing to be restated.

IGD's Christmas results tracker

How has Poundland performed against the market? Retail Analysis subscribers can keep track of the latest retailer results for Christmas

Steinhoff under investigation for accounting irregularities; ambitions to scale up store networks in Europe; new categories and services in development in the UK; Christmas initiative offers gifting inspiration.

Steinhoff CEO resigns, as accounting irregularities are under investigation

CEO of Steinhoff International Markus Jooste resigned with immediate effect, as the company has asked PwC to undertake an independent investigation of accounting irregularities.

Steinhoff operates 12,000 stores across the world, with a strong focus on discount retailing, and is the parent company of Poundland, Dealz and Pep&Co.

Scaling up store networks in Europe

The COO of Pepkor, parent company of Poundland, shares his international ambitions in an interview with Retail Week. Sean Cardinaal aims to expand the Dealz network in Spain, adding seven new stores this year. The company also plans to launch the Dealz banner in Eastern Europe, opening 20 stores by the end of 2018. Cardinaal sees potential for 500-1,000 stores across Europe, commenting “We have ambition to build a pan-European discount variety business that is of real significance.”

This follows recent news that Pep&Co clothing will be rolled out in Dealz stores internationally.

Trialling new categories and services in the UK

Poundland is trialling a move into the homeware category by introducing mattresses to its range for the first time, according to reports from Retail Week. The trial is active in twenty stores, and includes single mattresses for £79 and doubles for £99, both from Bensons for Beds (another Steinhoff-owned brand).

The retailer's pricing strategy continues to evolve. While reassuring customers it is committed to maintaining a core £1 proposition, this year Poundland introduced multiple price points, enabling it to offer a wider range of products and pack sizes. At the same time, Poundland's diversification into larger sized stores provides further opportunity to expand the range, including into physically bigger products. If the trial is successful, homeware may become a new destination category for Poundland in a similar way it has extended into clothing. This would bring the discounter into closer competition with B&M's "Home Store" format.

 Financial services are also in Poundland's proposition pipeline, both in terms of money transfer overseas, and offering credit to customers.

Interactive gift guide for Christmas shoppers

Ahead of Christmas, Poundland has launched an online gift finder. Its designed to help shoppers find the perfect present for their office Secret Santa, after research revealed that the UK spends £320m on the office tradition. Eighty percent of these gifts are re-gifted, thrown out or put at the back of a cupboard.

Users answer a short series of questions, and are presented with three products from Poundland's range that would suit their recipient. Try it out here

Retail Analysis subscribers can download IGD's Christmas forecasts and retail execution report



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