Pound­land makes move for 99p Stores

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

MORE Pound­land stores could be pop­ping up near you as the bud­get re­tail chain buys up 99p Stores.

Pound­land is snap­ping up the ri­val chain for £55m, in a deal thought to com­prise £47m in cash and £7.5m in new shares, and will pro­vide Pound­land with a ware­house and dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre.

Af­ter first an­nounc­ing its in­ten­tion in Fe­bru­ary, the firm has now been given the green-light to go-ahead with the merger.

The move had been put on hold while the Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the deal. There were con­cerns the deal could re­duce com­pe­ti­tion in the mar­ket but it found no ev­i­dence of this.

The new group, which will boast a net­work of 800 shops, will still face com­pe­ti­tion from the likes of Pound­world, B&M, Wilko, Tesco and Asda, the in­quiry group con­cluded.

Pound­land al­ready has branches in Uxbridge, Feltham, Houn­slow and Twick­en­ham, while 99p Stores are lo­cated in West Eal­ing, Hayes, Southall, Houn­slow, Ac­ton, Wem­b­ley and Har­row.

Pound­land chief ex­ec­u­tive Jim McCarthy claimed the moved will ben­e­fit both cus­tomers and share­hold­ers: “We welcome the CMA’s pro­vi­sional clear­ance of our ac­qui­si­tion of 99p Stores.

“We con­tinue to be­lieve that the ac­qui­si­tion of 99p will be great for cus­tomers and for share­hold­ers alike.”

CMA in­quiry group chair Philip Mars­den said cus­tomers would not be “worse off ” from the merger.

He added: “We con­ducted our own cus­tomer sur­vey and ex­am­ined a large amount of data to un­der­stand whether, af­ter the merger, cus­tomers would have enough al­ter­na­tives both over­all and in the lo­cal ar­eas where there is cur­rently a Pound­land store and a 99p Store.

“Both across its busi­ness and in in­di­vid­ual ar­eas, Pound­land would con­tinue to face com­pe­ti­tion from other value re­tail­ers so we don’t cur­rently be­lieve cus­tomers will face a re­duc­tion in choice, value or lower-qual­ity ser­vice as a re­sult of the merger.

“We have also seen in re­cent years the Big Four su­per­mar­kets en­gag­ing in in­tense price com­pe­ti­tion, some of which in­volve the pro­mo­tion of £1 prod­ucts. On the ba­sis of the ev­i­dence to date, we do not think cus­tomers will be worse off from the merger.”

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