Bargain-hunting shoppers have sent Christmas sales soaring at the West Midlands-based discount chain Poundland.
The group - which sells everything for £1 - said like-for-like sales rose 3.9% over the five weeks to January 4 as consumers sought cheaper options. Total sales, including new stores, jumped 24.3% year on year.
Poundland's strong trading continues the winning Christmas enjoyed by value-for-money retailers such as baking chain Greggs, Domino's Pizza and budget clothing chains Peacocks and New Look - while the likes of Marks & Spencer have suffered.
The group - which has more than two million customers a week - is embarking on a "significant" expansion of its store base in 2009 as recession increases its grip on the UK.
Poundland, based in Willenhall, already has more than 200 shops and 6,400 staff but plans to add 30 new stores and create an extra 1,000 jobs.
Chief executive Jim McCarthy said: "It is clear that Poundland has been one of few retailers reporting growth during the 2008 Christmas trading period.
"We are well positioned to capitalise on the continuing strong customer trend to shop savvy and seek value for money."
Poundland opened its first store in Burton-on-Trent in December 1990. It has been owned by private equity firm Advent International since 2002.
Instore, which owns rival discount chain Poundstretcher, is yet to report on its own Christmas trading. But the group's last sales figures for the seven weeks since the end of last August showed a 1.9% like-for-like increase - compared with a 1.4% decline in six months to August 30.