Discount Variety Retail Chain Pepco Group (owner of European discount retailer brands Pepco, Poundland and Dealz, listed on the WIG and owned by Steinhoff International) pledged to 'protect prices' for cash-strapped shoppers, as it reported a 17.5% increase in first-half revenue, driven by new store openings. The group, which listed on the Warsaw stock market since last May, said it would continue to drive its growth agenda while cutting the costs of doing business.
"This will enable us to offset the majority of our input inflation, allowing us to protect prices for our cost-conscious customers," said interim chief executive Trevor Masters. He cautioned that the market Pepco operates in is likely to stay volatile in the near term, because of inflationary pressures and the conflict in Ukraine, which borders three of the company's largest operating territories. Britain's inflation hit a 30-year high of 7% in March, with households facing the biggest cost-of-living squeeze since records began in the 1950s.
In the 19-country Eurozone it surged to 7.5% in March, hitting another record, with months to go before it is set to peak.
Pepco said revenue totalled €2.37 billion (US$ 2.6 bn) in the six months to March 31 as it opened 192 new stores, taking the total to 3,696 across 17 countries. It said like-for-like sales growth was 5.3%, driven by growth of 12.1% in the second quarter. Pepco, which does not trade online bar a small Poundland trial, forecast first-half core earnings (EBITDA) within a range of €342 million (US$ 376mn) to €350 million (US$ 385mn). "Within this range, the group remains on track to meet guidance for the full year in the absence of any further significant deterioration in the macro environment," it said.
Masters succeeded Andy Bond, who stepped down for health reasons at the end of March.