Everything looked so rosy a year ago when Poundland announced it was set to swoop for high street rival 99p Stores and its shares shot up to an all-time high of 421p. Since then, a lengthy CMA investigation into the deal and a deterioration of trading at 99p Stores and Poundland itself have led to a torrid 12 months.

The shares fell to 137.5p in late January, having lost more than two thirds of their value in a year. A slow recovery since then was dealt a blow this week on the retirement of CEO Jim McCarthy. The news sent Poundland shares back down 6.2% to 170p on Wednesday as the City feared disruption from losing the figurehead who led Poundland’s 300p per share listing.

The analyst community was more sanguine, insisting Poundland was back on the right track after its fall from grace. HSBC called the departure a “disappointment, but not a surprise”, arguing the transition was being well managed. “Jim will be leaving after the 99p Stores integration is completed in April, and [incoming CEO] Kevin O’Byrne will benefit from the tailwind of synergy benefits flowing through.” Poundland’s share price had previously stabilised after it insisted the integration of 99p Stores and negotiations with suppliers were on track and that the deal would result in at least £25m incremental EBITDA.

Elsewhere, shares in Greggs rocketed up 16% to 1,200p - towards pre-Christmas levels - after the baker announced a £100m investment plan (p10). Analysts at UBS said the market would be reassured by beating market expectations after December sales softness, adding: “Wage inflation is a headwind driven by the national living wage, but this is countered by continued food cost ­deflation and some selective price increases.”

Nichols this week rose 5.6% to 1,320p on Wednesday after posting an 8.9% hike in full-year pre-tax profit to £28m on revenues up 0.1% to £109.3m. “A good result delivered against a tough UK soft drink backdrop, but with some growth from the international operations and margin expansion,” according to Investec.