Its trading stores saw a like-for-like growth of 5%, which was consistent with the past three years’ performance pre-pandemic. Group like-for-like sales fell by 2.1%, however, reflecting the fact that around 15% of trading weeks were lost due to Covid-related store closures.
Nonetheless, underlying EBITDA increased by 16.8% to €324m (£277m), reportedly driven by the continued revenue growth, as well as gross margin expansion and “effective” cost management.
Over the period, the group’s store expansion programme went ahead with 225 net additions in the half and 402 versus the end of March 2020, representing 14.1% growth year-on-year.
The group noted that the increase in the scale of its Poundland store portfolio primarily reflected around 80 Fultons Frozen Foods stores acquired in the half year. It also reported 50 Poundland refits over the period.
Looking ahead, it said that despite the short-term challenges that renewed cost inflation will “likely” bring, its underlying trading remains in line with full-year guidance provided at the point of IPO.
It added that it “therefore remains confident, based on our market leading customer propositions within the attractive discount retail sector, in the continued delivery of long-term growth in line with our existing financial guidance”.
Andy Bond, CEO Pepco Group, said: “We anticipate that the environment in which we operate will remain changeable and challenging in the short term but over time as consumer behaviour returns to more normal patterns, as any Covid related restrictions that impact our customers confidence to shop are further relaxed.
“However, as these results show, we have a clear and winning customer offer, a long-term growth strategy delivering stores in existing and exciting new markets, as well as a number of key initiatives to drive our sales and margin. As such, we remain confident about our prospects for continued profitable growth in the balance of the financial year and beyond.”