Poundland has reported a 4.9% drop in like-for-like sales in its fourth quarter trading statement for the 13 week period leading to March 27.

Poundland attributed the decline to ‘difficult market conditions’ over the last few months combined with disruption caused by the retailer group’s takeover of the 99p Stores last year.

The Poundland Group acquired 99p Stores last summer when a £55m deal was cleared by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after it found the move would “not result in lessening of competition and customers would not face a reduction in choice, value or service”. 

The group has added 336 stores over the last year including 99p Stores acquired in the takeover, expanding its estate by more than 50%.

Plans are in place to complete the conversion of all remaining 99p Stores to Poundland stores by the end of April and Poundland expects the converted stores to add an extra £25m in profits by the end of the current financial year.

Jim McCarthy, Poundland chief executive, said: “Against a tough retail background, this has been a transformative year for Poundland, strengthening further our position as Europe’s biggest single-price discounter. We have added over 300 shops to our portfolio in the UK & Ireland, in particular in the South of England, substantially increasing our geographical reach and scale.

“The 99p Stores’ conversion programme will complete by the end of April, at which point we expect to see the significant benefits of over 900 stores trading as one cohesive retail operation begin to materialise.”