Poundworld is set to capitalise on the exploding popularity of round-pound stores by launching a new convenience-style format called Poundworld Express.

The concept stores will be smaller than existing Poundworld stores and will focus on offering a range of about 1,000 items. The first shop will debut this month in Wakefield, Yorkshire, where the first Poundworld opened in 1974.

The Express format would offer shoppers “the ultimate c-store”, said Poundworld trading director Chris Edwards Jr.

“The store will offer our most popular items at the same recession-busting prices,” he said. “We hope this will be a one-stop shop for people hoping to grab everyday essentials.”

Poundworld plans to roll out the Express-format stores on high streets across the UK over the next 12 months, but would not reveal how many it hoped to open.

“We already have a high street presence in 120 towns with Poundworld and will be expanding this reach with our new concept,” added Edwards Jr.

“This is an exciting development for Poundworld as we adapt to changing consumer needs.”

Poundworld Express is the latest development in Poundworld’s aggressive ongoing expansion. As well as its Poundworld brand which remains its key focus for expansion it launched the multi-price store Discount UK in 2010, which now has 17 stores in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Poundworld said Discount UK was performing “exactly as expected” but the multi-price format had generated challenges for the company as “customer count is lower than the single price format and margins remain tight”.

Poundworld also told The Grocer that plans to expand its food range were well underway. Its grocery offering had expanded by over 200 SKUs and sales were up 20% like-for-like on 2010.

“We also plan to add to the range in the new year but Halloween and Christmas are the ­current focus,” a spokeswoman said.