Poundland eyes extension over 99p Stores deal probe

 
Kasmira Jefford
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The bargain chain has until tomorrow to make a decision (Source: Getty)

Poundland is expected to ask for an extension tomorrow over its decision on whether to walk away from its £55m tie-up with 99p Stores or proceed with a full-scale probe by the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said last week that it had concerns over 92 areas where it believes there could be “a realistic prospect of less competition” and called for a “phase two investigation”.
The bargain chain has until tomorrow to make a decision. However, chief executive Jim McCarthy said yesterday that the retailer is likely to ask for the deadline to be extended.
“Obviously we have a number of options. This is quite a complex one there is a lot of information behind the headline which we are taking advice on,” he told City A.M.

“If we decide to go with phase two then I think that is the time to share with them our thinking and to persuade them that their original findings are incorrect. But that is only one of the options. We haven’t decided where we are going to go yet,” McCarthy said, without ruling out the prospect of walking away from the tie-up.
His comments came as Poundland revealed that sales reached £1bn for the first time after opening 60 stores last year. Like-for-like sales rose 2.4 per cent in the year to 29 March, with total sales up 11.8 per cent to £1.1bn.
Poundland entered the DIY market last month after launching a range of tools fronted by celebrity builder Tommy Walsh. McCarthy said it was “a good time” to enter DIY at a time when Homebase and B&Q are closing stores.

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