Single-price retailer Poundland is to maintain its ambitious store opening programme in 2010 and plans to trade from more larger-format stores after reporting total sales up 34.8% and like-for-like sales up 4.4% for the five weeks to January 3.

The retailer said that despite the difficult trading conditions it had achieved steady growth in all areas of the business as customers continued to seek value for money on the high street.

Poundland also confirmed that it plans to add to its 254-store portfolio by opening a further eight stores by the end of its financial year in March.

Chief executive Jim McCarthy confirmed this will take store openings for the year to between 50 and 60 and that he anticipated a further 50 store openings in the next financial year.

McCarthy added: “Taking over some of the former Woolworths sites of 10,000 sq ft to 12,000 sq ft has also given us a lot of confidence in trading from larger sites and we will be looking to add more larger stores.”

Poundland has also opened eight stores in Northern Ireland after making its debut there in October and McCarthy believes there is potential for at least another 12 stores.

McCarthy also noted that in the current climate consumer purchasing had moved more towards essentials than discretionary spend, which had squeezed margins but had boosted volume. “With more and more customers spreading the weekly shop across several stores to help their budget stretch further, we are confident that sales will continue to reflect this customer trend,” he said.

Poundland has been one of many retailers to be the subject of flotation rumours but McCarthy said that any such decision lay with private equity owner Advent International.