Discount retailer 99p Stores has vowed to return to profitability next year following two years of losses.

Buying director Faisal Lalani said the retailer plans to increase its stores from 54 to 100 in the next three years. He said it aims to increase pre-tax profits to£1 million in the year to January 31, 2009, which will be boosted by store openings.

Like-for-like sales have jumped 8 per cent in the nine months to date, rising 11 per cent in the past six weeks. The group anticipates EBITDA of £2.2 million and pre-tax profits in excess o £100,000 in the year to January 31.

Lalani said that management was in discussions to acquire other retailers next year and have made a number of approaches.

In accounts filed at Companies House, 99p Stores made a pre-tax loss of £1.14 million in the year to January 31, 2007. Lalani said that since then, increased interest rates and price inflation on food and petrol have made consumers a lot more cautious with their money, which has helped boost overall sales in the value sector.

However, Retail Knowledge Bank senior partner Robert Clark warned: “The jury is still out. The retailer is well placed, with patient bankers, but it’s about time it started delivering on profitability.”

Lalani said the retailer will examine a possible sale of the business in three years’ time.