Discount retailer B&M has reported soaring full-year profits and is ramping up expansion plans as it prepares to cash in on a slowing economy and a squeeze in consumer spending.
The group, which operates more than a dozen stores in Northern Ireland, said that pre-tax profits rose 18% to £182.9m in the year to March 25, while revenue rocketed 19% to £2.bn.
Like-for-like sales in the UK increased 3.1%, and B&M said that it planned to have 950 stores across the country.
It currently has 537 outlets, and the extra stores will create around 5,000 jobs.
The firm said that trading this year had got off to an "excellent start", adding that up to 50 new stores were slated to open in the UK over the next 12 months at a rate of one a week.
Chief executive Simon Arora said a faltering economy and soaring inflation eating into budgets meant B&M was well positioned to grow further.