The UK competition regulator has granted permission for discount retailer Poundland to acquire its biggest rival, 99p Stores. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that the £55m merger would not cause a "substantial lessening of competition". It said customers would not face a "reduction in choice, value or quality of service as a result of the merger". The CMA's ruling was provisionally published in August. Both Poundland and 99p Stores sell fast-moving general merchandise, normally for a fixed single price. The CMA believes supermarket chains and other discounters, such as Poundworld, will counterbalance any effect caused by the merger. Poundland said it would now complete the takeover of its rival, announced in February, by the end of the month.It plans to create a network of 800 shops.