Bumper sales for bargain retailers

FESTIVE bargain hunters helped retailer Poundland post bumper sales figures for the Christmas period.

Poundland, which has a store in Pescod Square, Boston, saw like-for-like sales up nearly six per cent while overall sales, including new outlets, were 25 per cent up for the five weeks to New Year’s Day.

The retailer sold a total of 24.5 million Christmas cards, 10,000 miles of wrapping paper, 6,000 miles of foil, four million Toblerones, one million advent calendars and more than three million boxes of Maltesers.

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 is very encouraging and demonstrates that Poundland has great appeal to millions of customers who want or need to save their money.

“Poundland is perfectly positioned to help savvy shoppers by providing amazing value for money. We continue to instil confidence and trust in our customers by offering products they want at our amazing fixed price.”

The news comes after fellow discount retailer QD Stores, which has a shop in Strait Bargate, Boston, posted a like-for-like sales increase of 5.66 per cent.

Experts argue that budget stores are cashing in on the opportunities offered by tough economic times.

Lincolnshire Co-op was also a winner over the festive period, seeing sales increase by 7.4 per cent in its foodstores.

In total, retail sales were up 0.6 per cent in December and 2.6 per cent up on the same month last year, when heavy snow hit the Christmas shopping period.

The numbers were stronger than expected but business leaders have warned that serious challenges lie ahead in 2012.

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “These figures provide further evidence that inflation in the high street is falling. While this trend continues, there is hope that consumer spending will stabilise and economic growth will improve later this year. But any sustained growth in the economy will have to rely on more than just consumer spending. Boosting net exports and business investment will be crucial to sustaining the recovery in the months and years ahead. While the government must stick to its plan to reduce the deficit, more must be done to reallocate priorities within the overall spending envelope.

“Businesses expect firm action in key areas such as credit easing, cutting red tape and containing increases in business rates.”