Poundland enjoyed a “very encouraging” Christmas with like-for-like sales up 5.9%.

The single price discount retailer today reported a 24.9% rise in total sales year on year for the five weeks to January 1.

The retailer benefited from a strong performance in the chocolate and Christmas card categories, selling 24.5 million of the latter.

Following the Christmas period, Poundland has offered more than 500 permanent jobs to people recruited into temporary roles over the busy festive time.

Poundland chief executive Jim McCarthy said: “There’s no doubt that this Christmas has once again been tough for consumers. In the current economic climate, our like-for-like sales growth of just under 6% is very encouraging and demonstrates that Poundland has great appeal to millions of customers who want or need to save their money.”

He added: “Poundland is perfectly positioned to help savvy shoppers by providing amazing value for money.”

The retailer enjoyed a last-minute rush with a record 5.5 million customers served in the peak Christmas week.