'It's the right timing': Poundland boss defends March float

IPO expected to value the discount retailer between £700m and £800m

City Staff
Tuesday 18 February 2014 10:28

Poundland's chief has defended the High Street discount chain’s decision to join the horde of UK retailers rushing to the London Stock Exchange.

Jim McCarthy, who today announced long-awaited plans for the firm to float, said: “I think it’s the right timing. Investors are like consumers and have plenty of choice but we are the only discounter on the market.

McCarthy, who is one of 155 employees who will earn huge windfalls from the expected £700 million flotation next month, added: “The market conditions are attractive and we don’t worry about anyone else and concentrate on what we do.”

Poundland opened its first store in 1990, in Burton-on-Trent, and has grown to more than 500 stores in the UK and Ireland as shoppers snap up its thousands of products, all sold for a pound.

Revenues for the nine months to the end of December hit £758.3 million, up 13 per cent from the same period the year before.

McCarthy also revealed the company plans to open 10 stores in Spain this year, hoping to cash in on the country’s increased appetite for a bargain.

Poundland bolstered its board with four new non-executive directors today, including former Carpetright boss and former Sainsbury’s finance director Darren Shapland, once touted as a possible replacement for Justin King at the supermarket.

It brings him into the boardroom with chairman Andrew Higginson, who was previously his counterpart as finance director at rival Tesco.

The other non-executives added are Grant Hearn, former chief executive of Travelodge; Tea Colaianni, human resources director at Merlin Entertainments; and Trevor Bond, president and chief customer officer at Cadbury’s owner Mondelez International.

Management have already said they want to double the number of stores in the UK to around 1000, and have eyed several markets across Europe aside from Spain.

McCarthy said: “We could have gone to any of those markets where we can have even more success, but Spain was the most obvious... consumers are keen on value because the economy has been difficult and we think the value we can bring to that market can be profound.”

Newsagents McColl’s and online white goods business AO.com are among the retailers to have recently announced floats, while Pets at Home, DFS, House of Fraser, internet clothing firm boohoo.com and B&M Bargains are all planning listings.

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