1. ITV Report

Poundland sales reach unprecedented £1 billion mark

Poundland has said its annual sales have topped £1 billion for the first time Credit: PA

Discount retailer Poundland has said its annual sales have topped £1 billion for the first time in its 25-year history.

The West Midlands-based firm, which has 547 UK stores and 41 outlets in Ireland, reported a rise in sales of 11.4% to £1.1 billion for the year to March 29.

It said same store sales lifted by 2.4% during the period.

Poundland opened 60 stores in the UK and Ireland as planned this year - 10 fewer than last year.

The group said its full-year sales growth was lower than last year's 13.3% rise due to strong trading the previous year and fewer stores opening.

Announcing today's figures, Poundland said it had performed well despite "tough trading conditions".

After a solid quarter of sales growth, Poundland's revenue for the 2015 financial year was over £1 billion for the first time.

– Poundland Chief executive Jim McCarthy

Discount stores such as Poundland, Aldi and Lidl have sparked the ongoing supermarket price war among major grocers.

However, Poundland is also facing a competition probe into its £55 million takeover of rival 99p Stores, which could see the firm being forced to sell off a number of outlets.

The planned merger, announced in February, would create a network of 800 shops, but last week the Competition and Markets Authority said the deal could mean "substantial lessening of competition in 80 local areas where the companies overlap" and 12 where they would compete "in the near future".

Poundland said today that it continued to "carefully consider" the CMA's announcement and "will make a further announcement in due course."