Companies don’t usually hide good news, so it’s not surprising that Poundland now seems happier to talk about like-for-like sales growth.

Companies don’t usually hide good news, so it’s not surprising that Poundland now seems happier to talk about like-for-like sales growth.

During its recent IPO, Poundland’s discount rival B&M made no secret of the fact that it has a superior record of like-for-like sales growth to Poundland, because of the ability to trade consumers up through multiple price-points and thus increase average transaction values.

And Poundland made no secret of the fact, during its recent IPO, that like-for-like sales growth is not a KPI for the business, funnily enough, with the focus on total sales growth, as boosted by the relentless pace of new store openings.

But Poundland today, with the final results, was able to issue a bullish first-quarter trading statement. Sales rose by no less than 18% (well ahead of the 13% sales growth in the whole of last year) driven, in part, by “stronger like-for-like sales growth”.

Poundland did not attempt to quantify the first-quarter like-for-like sales growth, needless to say, but analysts close to head of investor relations, one Philip Dorgan, reckon it was about 6%, which is good by any standards. So Poundland actually had nothing to hide.

Of course, there were some one-off benefits in the first quarter, as it included a late Easter, as well as much better spring weather, to boost seasonal product categories.

So it would be a rash analyst who pencilled in that sort of like-for-like growth for the rest of the year, particularly with tougher comps to come in the second half.

Interestingly, although Poundland achieved 1.9% like-for-like growth in the whole of last year. That was an average of flat like-for-likes in the first half and 2.9% in the second half.

The year before, however, saw like-for-likes sales fall by 1.7% (you can see why Poundland don’t always like to talk about LFL sales growth).

Poundland suffered from the fact that competitors such as 99p Stores and Poundworld were able to raid the former Peacocks store estate and open over 100 branches near Poundland stores in 2012/13, with some inevitable sales attrition as a result.

In 2013/14, the pace of rival competitor openings against Poundland fell back to only 65 stores, reducing the drag on like-for-likes.

With 99p Stores and Poundworld suffering from some growth pains and no other big chunks of high street space becoming available to them, the coast looks fairly clear - although Poundland also competes with the supermarkets and the big discounters such as B&M and Home Bargains.

Poundland itself was able to open a record net 70 new stores in the last financial year (65 in the UK and five in Ireland) and 30 of the UK stores were on retail parks, which should help to drive a slightly greater maturity cycle to future like-for-like growth.

Poundland still thinks it can profitably have as many as 1,000 UK stores (ie double the current estate), so it still has legs and the success of the Dealz business in Ireland has opened up further expansion opportunities in Europe, specifically Spain.

Coincidentally, the first Dealz store in Spain opened yesterday, in sunny Torremolinos and, all going well, there could easily be potential for 250 to 300 shops in Spain.

B&M may very well be excited about its new business in Germany, but Spain will no doubt provide better holiday opportunities for the hard-working Poundland management team.

The old phrase is “nowhere to run and nowhere to hide” and that may be true of a few big UK retailers, but it doesn’t seem to be true of Poundland.

It now appears to have nothing to hide about like-for-like sales growth and plenty of room to grow - with online sales growth to come shortly.