International News - JD Group plans 150 Abra stores in Poland

South African furniture retailer JD Group plans to have 150 Abra stores in Poland eventually.

Executive chairman David Sussman said he expects 24-strong Abra to grow by between five and 10 stores a year from now on.

New shops will range in size from 465 sq m to an optimal 835 sq m.

The retailer has largely turned its back on the out-of-town locations initially favoured, and is looking for sites in urban areas. High rents, which had to be paid in foreign currency, partly prompted the change in approach.

Expansion in Poland may be followed by openings elsewhere in the region.

Sussman said: 'Once we have reached a sustainable level in Poland then we will look south and east (at other European countries).'

Sussman said one of the biggest costs related to opening in Poland is the heating bill, because of the extremely low temperatures in winter.

JD Group's South African fascias include Price 'n' Pride, Bradlows, Electric Express and Joshua Doore.

In the UK, JD runs the BoConcept chain.

The retailer posted sales in the year to August 2002 up by 12 per cent to R2.6billion (£186 million). Pre-tax profits fell by 25 per cent to R299 million (£21.4 million) on the back of investment in Poland and the UK.