Poundland is ramping up its store expansion programme in Northern Ireland on the back of strong sales since first opening there in October.

The single price point retailer has opened eight stores in the region since the beginning of October, and expects to open a further six by the end of March.

Poundland chief executive Jim McCarthy said: “We’re been very well received by the Northern Irish consumer.” He said Poundland is the first single price point retailer in Northern Ireland, and he is using local suppliers to source items like milk and crisps.

The 253-store retailer, which has plans for up to 650 stores in the UK, has also launched an own-brand gifting label, For You – offering scarves, cosmetics and gift sets – in time for Christmas.

McCarthy said the Christmas trading period has started “very well”, with festive lines such as greetings cards performing strongly.

The retailer, which began selling fresh produce such as milk and eggs in the past 12 months, has also begun selling bacon and cheese in the past three months at 50 to 60 stores.

Insiders have said that Poundland – which has been the subject of much speculation regarding a possible float – is still too small to consider a move to the Stock Exchange, and that a float is at least two years away.

Poundland’s EBITDA rocketed 27% to £20m in the year to March 29, with operating profits soaring 47% to £11.8m in the period and like-for-likes increasing 2.1%.