Business in brief: Poundland | FTSE 100

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DISCOUNT retailer Poundland has reported a surge in the number of well-heeled shoppers visiting its stores as it notched up a record Christmas performance.

The budget chain, which is reportedly being lined up for a £800 million float before the summer, yesterday posted a 12.4 per cent hike in total sales over the 13 weeks to 31 December.

Like-for-like figures were not provided, but it described comparable store growth as “good”. It hailed its “broadening appeal” and said more than one in five of its shoppers were now from the wealthiest section of the population.

Second female FTSE chairman appointed

DRUGS maker Shire yesterday became only the second FTSE 100 company to have a woman chairing its board.

Susan Kilsby will take over at the end of April from Matthew Emmens, who is retiring as chairman after six years having served as chief executive for the previous five years.

Helena Morrissey, founder of the 30% Club, which campaigns for more women on boards, said: “We are pleased Susan Kilsby has been appointed, making her the second FTSE 100 female chairman alongside Dame Alison Carnwath at Land Securities.”

Furniture business lands funding deal

A FURNITURE retail chain has secured a six-figure funding package that will allow it to boost storage space and increase its online presence.

Family-owned Furniture Mountain – which formerly traded as Pine Warehouse – has secured the £220,000-plus in funding from long-standing banker Clydesdale Bank.

As part of the funding deal, the firm, which operates from stores in Aberdeen, Dundee and Lanarkshire, will open a wholly-owned warehouse facility in place of the three rented operations that it currently maintains.

Strong demand for equities lifts LSE

The London Stock Exchange has posted a 48 per cent jump in third-quarter revenues after the amount of equities issued on the market almost doubled.

Analysts said the surge in income, to £308.9 million for the three months to the end of December, was further proof that chief executive Xavier Rolet’s strategy to diversify and move into strong potential growth areas had paid off.

Rolet is due to deliver a speech to the Asia-Scotland Institute in Edinburgh next week, discussing how diversified capital markets can help UK firms expand into Asia.