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Poundland owner to open 400 new stores despite dent to profits

The company said that whilst the near-term consumer environment is likely to continue to be impacted by Covid-related shopping restrictions, it ‘remains confident’ about its long-term growth strategy

Poundland owner the Pepco Group has announced plans to open 400 stores this year despite posting a drop in profits from €331 (£285m) to €229m (£198.2m) due to the impact of Covid-19.

The group said the results for the 52-week period ending 30 September 2020 is primarily related to temporary Covid-related store closures, particularly in Central Europe, from April to June 2020.

In the five months to the end of February, pre the impact of Covid-19, it revealed underlying EBITDA was actually up 18% year-on-year.

It comes as the retailer also reported a 3% increase in revenues to €3.5bn (£3bn) despite “significant Covid impact” in Q3 LFL, which it said was more than offset by resilient LFL performance outside of the lockdown periods.

The company said that whilst the near-term consumer environment is likely to continue to be impacted by Covid-related shopping restrictions, it “remains confident” about its long-term growth strategy.

Consistent with FY20 investment to support future growth Pepco added it will continue with its plan to open 400 stores in the current financial year.

Andy Bond, CEO of Pepco Group, said: “We again made good progress in the last year delivering the convenience and market leading value that our customers are seeking and advancing our pan-European growth strategy, despite a turbulent trading environment. Our robust profit and cash performance clearly demonstrates the strength of each of our retail brands and customer offers together with our resilience to short-term Covid disruption.

“With a strengthened proposition and more customers than ever across Europe being attracted to the discount sector we believe that our future growth opportunity is now greater than a year ago.”

He added: “We now view our addressable market as being the entirety of Europe and having entered Italy and Serbia ‒ our first Western European market and non-EU country respectively ‒ we will also launch Pepco in Spain later in 2021, having identified a significant opportunity there after extensive due diligence.

“We anticipate that the consumer backdrop will remain challenging in the short-term. However, with our strong financial base and established growth strategy within a structurally advantaged discount retail segment, we remain confident about our long-term prospects for continued growth across Europe.”

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