Discount retailer TJ Hughes is to open six new stores across the UK this spring, boosting its stores portfolio to 50 - a 16 per rise since last year.
The announcement follows an "exceptional" Christmas for the Liverpool-based business, which has stores in Coventry, Lichfield and Wolverhampton.
Like-for-like sales were up throughout December with the fashion category in particular seeing double digit growth in the closing months of 2005, the privately-held company said.
The new stores represent an investment of more than £10 million and will take the total current trading space to 1.8 million sq ft, up 11 per cent on last year. Up to 200 jobs will also be created.
Contracts have already been signed for four former Littlewoods stores in Sunder-land, Plymouth, Dumfries and Corby and terms have been agreed for a further nonLittlewoods outlet in East Anglia.
Chief executive Robin Dickie said: "Over the past 18 months we have certainly made no secret of the fact that we want to grow significantly.
"When the new management team took over, our aim was to become a national force in Britain's discount retail sector. This year, I believe that we will achieve that."
The company's decision to launch itself online is also meeting all business expectations. In November, Hughes became the first national retail chain to open an ebay store, having launched its own transactional website less than a month previously.
"All of this confirms our status as Britain's fastestgrowing discount department store chain," Mr Dickie added.