Budget retailer Poundland has announced plans to open a raft of new stores in 2009 despite the prospect of a drawn-out recession.

The chain yesterday said it would be opening at least 35 new outlets over the next 12 months, adding around 1,200 staff to its workforce.

Poundland launched 40 new stores in the UK in 2008, with its 200th outpost opening last month in Doncaster.

“We are committed to continuing our ambitious expansion plans even further next year,” said chief executive Jim McCarthy. “Times are tough and customers know Poundland offers quality brands at the incredible £1 price point on all products every day. We are convinced that Poundland will continue to help shoppers through the tough times in even more locations next year.”

The news comes after McCarthy revealed that Poundland would be trialling an extended grocery range in a third of its stores.

Meanwhile, discounter Lidl had said it expected to open 50 new UK outlets next year, including around 10 smaller stores.

“Throughout the financial year, a lot of sites have come up, including the Co-op, Somerfield and potentially Woolworths stores,” Lidl’s regional director for the Midlands, Martin Bailie, told The Times. “We are looking at what sites might be appealing and make business sense.”

He added: “We know we have to think about where can we expand in big cities like London, Glasgow, Manchester and Liverpool, and [the smaller format] has been very successful. They are holding their own in terms of Lidl estate in the UK and what we want to do is continue with the project at a pace that meets demand. I see an increase of another 10 smaller stores next year.”

Lidl also plans to launch a new premium range from next month that will target ABC shoppers, who make up an increasing share of the discounter’s client base.

“We already need to be thinking in terms of when the economy is not as good for us as it is now,” Bailie said.