Poundland owner vows to protect prices as first-half sales rise

Poundland owner vows to protect prices as first-half sales rise

Pepco Group, owner of European discount retailer brands Dealz, PEPCO and Poundland, has pledged to “protect prices” for cash-strapped shoppers.

The promise comes as it reported an increase of 17.5% in first-half revenue, driven by new store openings.

The group, which listed on the Warsaw stock market last May, said it would continue to drive its growth agenda while cutting the costs of doing business.

“This will enable us to offset the majority of our input inflation, allowing us to protect prices for our cost-conscious customers,” said interim chief executive Trevor Masters.

He warned that the market Pepco operates in is likely to stay volatile in the near term, because of inflationary pressures and the conflict in Ukraine, which borders three of the company’s largest operating territories.

Inflation in Ireland hit a 22 year high of 6.7% in March, while UK inflation hit a 30-year high of 7% in March.

In the 19-country euro zone it surged to 7.5% in March, hitting another record, with months to go before it is set to peak.

Pepco said revenue totalled €2.37 billion in the six months to March 31 as it opened 192 new stores, taking the total to 3,696 across 17 countries.

It said like-for-like sales growth was 5.3%, driven by growth of 12.1% in the second quarter.

Pepco, which does not trade online bar a small Poundland trial, forecast first-half core earnings (EBITDA) within a range of €342-350m.

“Within this range, the group remains on track to meet guidance for the full year in the absence of any further significant deterioration in the macro environment,” it said.