Edinburgh Woollen Mill is to open 150 high street and mall stores this year, as well as more than 100 across the rest of the group that includes Jane Norman.

The aggressive expansion push makes it one of the few retailers to invest in significant new space in 2012.

It will add 75 stores to the Jane Norman business and 30 to homewares chain Ponden Home. It will also add 150 to its eponymous chain, after upgrading its previous figure of 45, given to Retail Week earlier today.

The retailer, which last year snapped up Jane Norman out of administration, said it aims to take advantage of the abundance of property coming to market after the spate of retail administrations in recent months.

In a good sign for the UK’s ailing high streets, an Edinburgh Woollen Mill spokesman told Retail Week that most of the store openings would be in-town.

The clothing and homewares retailer - which specialises in woollens, knitwear and casual outdoor wear for the over 45s - has opened 100 stores in the last two years, but is ramping up its expansion this year as collapses including Peacocks and Bonmarche have “opened up opportunities in new locations”.

The spokesman said: “The Edinburgh Woollen Mill feels that it can service the customers in the locations that these businesses have left behind.”

Edinburgh Woollen Mill has been linked to retail acquisitions of businesses including Peacocks, however the spokesman declined to comment on any potential future acquisitions.

The spokesman said the privately-owned retailer has “one of the best covenants in the retail market and is being inundated with approaches from landlords”.

He said Edinburgh Woollen Mill is benefiting from landlords’ reticence to sign deals with newly formed companies that carry no covenant strength.

The group had a “very good” Christmas and trading has been strong since, he added.

“It’s looking very positive,” he said. “We have a very strong package, we’re what customers are looking for. We offer value for money and quality too, which is important in this climate.”

The group trades from about 800 stores across its brands, including 94 specialist tourist shops, which trade under local fascias such as Ben Nevis Highland Centre, where gifts and products reflect the store location.

The retailer is working with property firm BTW Shields to handle its expansion, because the firm considers “the needs of the landlord and tenant, which is essential in this difficult market for the agreement to work for both parties”, according to the spokesman.