99p Stores has snapped up 15 former Woolworths stores and has already started trading in a third of them.

Stores were opened last week in Penge, Southall and Eltham in London, while a further two stores opened this week in Streatham and Balham. Next week, stores are set to open in Denmark Hill and Stratford, also in London, while terms have been agreed on a further eight stores.

Buying director Faisal Lalani told The Grocer the stores had opened within seven days of 99p Stores buying them.

"Turning around the stores was an easy job," he said. "The flooring and ceiling were already there so all we had to do was put in shelving, tills and stock."

The retailer had also bought stock destined for Woolworths stores straight from suppliers and had seen an uplift in trade in areas where a Woolworths store had closed.

"Everyone said the multiples would take the trade, but high streets need variety stores and we have definitely taken a good percentage of trade," Lalani said.

The new sites take 99p Stores' estate to 79 and Lalani is aiming for 100 stores by the end of the year, creating an estimated 1,000 jobs and increasing turnover to £250m. Like-for-like sales rose 5.2% in the 13 weeks to 3 January and total sales rose 19.5% in the 12 months 31 December.

Lalani also dismissed reports the opening of 99p Stores' new store in Poole last month had forced a Pound World to close.

"This was never our intention," he said. "Customers are concerned about every last penny and they know we sell the same products, so they came to us."