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Retailing - 1998






















Denmans Electrical Wholesale is acquiring Simpson & Paul, the operator of lighting and electrical supplies depots in Watford and High Wycombe.

Walton Group is to start work in the new year on a £100m shopping mall in Liverpool city centre, which should create up to 1,500 jobs.

Asprey & Garrard has sold the Mappin & Webb and Watches of Switzerland chains to a management team for undisclosed terms, as part of a strategy to dispose of non-core businesses.

Body Shop International is acquiring its German franchise operator Cosmo Trading for £7m, and plans to double the size of the operation over the next few years.

City Gourmets is acquiring Newultra, the owner of six coffee shops operating under the Rendezvous name, for £1.2m.

Debenhams is planning a £35m refit of its Oxford store which will create 50 jobs, and two temporary stores are being set up to serve customers for the duration of the project.

Marks & Spencer has announced plans to build a new store in Scunthorpe town centre, as part of a £27m shopping mall being developed by Wykeland Group and Chesterfield Properties.

Sainsbury has announced plans for a £30m investment at the Castle Vale housing estate in Birmingham, and more than 500 jobs will be created.

Asda has acquired five Co-op stores in Yeovil, Blackpool, Darlington, Birkenhead and Weston-super-Mare, and will expand them with the creation of about 1,000 jobs.

Tesco has won permission to build a major new distribution warehouse at Purfleet in Essex, which will create more than 800 jobs.

Waitrose is planning to open a new store in Malvern next year, with the creation of 250 jobs.

Safeway is to open a 50,000 sq ft depot for grocery and chilled products in Larne, Northern Ireland, in an alliance with P&O Ferries, creating 100 jobs.

Dollond & Aitchison, the chain of opticians, is being acquired by De Rigo of Italy for undisclosed terms.

Land Securities and Sunderland Council are planning a £45m expansion at Sunderland's Bridges shopping centre, and the plans include a new Debenhams store that will create 350 jobs.

TM Group has acquired Martin Retail for £75m, creating the largest newsagency chain in the UK with 1,420 outlets, and it will convert many of the stores into a convenience format.

Addis is setting up a new household products research and development facility in Swansea, creating an unspecified number of new jobs.

United Norwest Co-op has acquired the Nevins chain of 20 convenience stores for undisclosed terms.

Sainsbury has acquired Star Markets, the US supermarket chain, for £294m and the 53 stores are expected to be converted to its existing Shaw's format.

Wm Morrison is planning to build a £15m food superstore in Newcastle, which will create 250 jobs.

Somerfield has agreed a £25m deal to open up to 50 grocery stores on Elf petrol station forecourts over the next 18 months, creating 1,500 jobs.

BAA McArthur Glen is planning to expand its Cheshire Oaks retail complex with 44 new shops, creating up to 200 new jobs.

Bertram Books, the Norwich-based book wholesaler, is to build a new warehouse and offices at the Broadland Business Park in Thorpe, which will enable it to increase headcount from 600 to 1,000.

Littlewoods is to close its printing operation in Liverpool and move to a new site in Speke, creating about 150 new jobs.

Wyevale Garden Centres is acquiring Kennedys, the chain of 13 garden centres, for up to £13m, taking its total number of outlets to 78.

Principality Pension Trust, an investment trust linked to a privately-owned South Wales group of companies, has submitted plans to Caerphilly County Borough Council for a £14m retail park in Caerphilly that would create up to 150 jobs.

Norwest Co-op and Freeport Leisure are planning to open a £20m shopping complex at Talke in Staffordshire next spring, creating up to 500 jobs.

Leaveland Shoe, a new Chinese-owned company, is to build a shoe factory at Pembroke Dock which will create 150 jobs.

Bestway is planning to set up cash and carry depots in Swansea and Gateshead as part of a strategy to be present in every major conurbation in England and Wales.

Kingfisher has acquired Electrical City, the Singapore electrical retail chain, for undisclosed terms, and will use it as a base to expand further into south-east Asia.

The McArthur Glen shopping village off the M4 at Bridgend is planning to almost double in size, with the creation of 44 new shops and more than 200 jobs.

Land Securities has unveiled revised plans for the £60m redevelopment of York's Coppergate Centre extension, which is expected to create 750 jobs.

Philip Russell, the Belfast-based drinks wholesaler, has confirmed plans to invest £3m in a chain of licensed convenience stores in Northern Ireland, creating up to 120 jobs.

Foster's, the menswear retailer, has been bought from the receivers by Tom Hunter, the former owner of Sports Division, and the stores are likely to be renamed and the head office moved from the West Midlands to Ayrshire.

Sainsbury's is creating more than 100 jobs by expanding its Stafford supermarket at a cost of £7.5m.

B&Q is planning to invest £750m in the expansion of its DIY chain, opening 125 out-of-town stores over the next five years and creating 20,000 jobs.

B&Q is said to be planning to set up three warehouses in Liverpool, creating 600 jobs.

Asda is to create up to 300 jobs at a national call centre near Glasgow, and Rutherglen-based City Refrigeration Holdings has won a five-year contract to run it.

Littlewoods is said to be considering plans to open a distribution and call centre at the Estuary Commerce Park in Speke Garston, Merseyside.

Grampian Holdings is selling its sportswear business to Finest Brands International, in order to focus on the expansion of its chain of Edinburgh Woollen Mill outlets.

Asda is planning to move its Wrexham superstore to a larger site on Holt Road, creating up to 200 jobs.

Index is to open a new catalogue store in Chesterfield next month with the creation of 30 jobs.

Globecrown International, the Maldon-based product-testing company, has been acquired by Hill Top Research of the US in a £4.5m deal.

Peacocks, the Cardiff-based clothes retailer, is planning to invest £12m in a nationwide expansion programme that will result in 40 new clothes stores and up to 1,400 jobs over the next 14 months.

Alldays has acquired Walter Wilson, the Gateshead-based chain of 48 supermarkets, for £6.9m.

HMV Media is planning to open seven Waterstone's bookshops and three HMV music shops in the UK over the next two years, as well as five superstores in North America and Europe.

Swan Hill has won approval to build the £40m Wellington Square retail scheme in Stockton, which will create 43 shop units and more than 400 jobs.

Tranville Developments of Leeds is planning to build a superstore in Blackburn in order to regenerate the northern side of the town centre and create 400 jobs.

Waitrose is planning to build a 25,000 sq ft supermarket in South Woodford, creating 220 jobs.

Sweet Dreams, the bed manufacturer, has bought Turkington's 81,000 sq ft former factory in Burnley and aims to create 50 new jobs.

Borders of the US is planning to set up a 25,000 sq ft bookshop superstore in York, which will create 70 jobs.

Bradgate Textiles is expanding its Sileby factory to meet rising demand for its child safety seat covers and mail order home furnishings, and an extra 35 jobs are being created.

Tesco is planning to build a 95,000 sq ft store as part of the £25m redevelopment of the Seacroft shopping centre in Leeds, creating more than 500 jobs.

TK Maxx, the discount fashion retailer, is to open its first two Welsh stores this month, creating more than 100 jobs in Carmarthen and Cardiff.

Sarah Coggles is to open 20 new fashion stores nationwide over the next three years, creating about 400 jobs.

Swan Hill is planning a £40m retail development in Stockton that will include 42 shops and create more than 400 jobs.

Freeport Leisure is set to start building the £40m Freeport Village in Castleford, which will include 140 retail outlets and should open next August.

Ottakar's is buying Bells Bookshops for £1.1m, and is also preparing to open eight new bookshops before the end of the year.

Pine Direct is opening a new head office and furniture manufacturing plant in Burnley, with the creation of 113 jobs.

Day Runner of the US is to acquire Filofax, the UK personal-organiser maker, for £50m.

Kingfisher is to merge its B&Q business with Castorama of France to create Europe's largest DIY retailing group and allow major cost savings.

Albemarle & Bond, the jewellery retailing and cheque cashing company, is raising £3.5m in a share placing in order to fund the opening of 20 more stores over the next three years.

Budgens is moving into home shopping with the acquisition of Teleshop for £0.5m, and will rename the service Budgens Direct.

Tesco is linking up with Grattan to launch a home-shopping service, and 350 new jobs will be created at Grattan's headquarters in Bradford.

Tesco is planning to set up two major distribution centres close to London, and is already thought to have agreed to use Capital & Regional's Dolfin site at Thurrock.

Wm Morrison is to open a further eight stores across the country over the next 18 months, as part of an expansion plan that will create at least 2,800 jobs.

Nike is to open its first retail outlet in Scotland at a £25m retail site in Tillicoultry, which will create nearly 500 jobs.

Courtaulds Textiles is planning to acquire Claremont Garments for £10m, and claims the deal will make it the leading supplier to Marks & Spencer.

Clinton Cards is to acquire CSG Holdings, the greeting-card retailer, for £27m which will expand its chain from 504 to 715 shops.

Freeport Leisure is to open three retail centres over the next year, including a £20m centre near Newcastle-under-Lyme, a £45m centre in Castleford and a £35m centre in Braintree.

Asda is to open a new regional distribution centre in Washington, Tyne & Wear, later this month to serve stores in the North East and Cumbria, creating 500 jobs.

Somerfield is to recruit a further 100 staff for its computer department in Bristol.

PetsMart is planning to open 100 more pet stores by the end of next year, and 250 jobs will be set aside for the over-50s.

B&Q and MFI are planning to swap their superstore sites in York and about 200 new jobs will be created in the redevelopment.

Kingfisher is to acquire Polish Life Improvement, Poland's largest DIY retailer, for about £16m, its first move into eastern Europe.

Asda is planning to demolish its store in Havant and replace it with a state-of-the-art hypermarket that will be open 24 hours a day and create 100 jobs.

MFI, the furniture retailer, is to create 120 jobs at a call centre in Sunderland Enterprise Park.

Monsoon plans to open a further 40 women's fashion stores over the next year, as it claims that store locations have become easier to find.

Littlewoods is planning to expand its telephone customer service centre in Sunderland, creating an extra 600 jobs over the next two years.

Ikea is planning to open a new furniture store in Eastville, Bristol, next April, creating 350 jobs.

Asda is to open four new stores in Scotland with the creation of 1,000 jobs, and they will be located in Elgin, Hamilton, Robroyston, and Clydebank.

Oriflame International, the cosmetics marketing company, is to sell its Swedish retailing business to an undisclosed buyer for £14m in order to focus on direct selling.

Tesco is planning to build a superstore in Beverley with the creation of 300 new jobs, but the plans are being strongly opposed by local traders.

Supreme Knitwear is to expand its factory in Stockton and take on 40 new staff, and it is hoped that the new buildings will eventually house 300 workers.

William Wilson, the Aberdeen-based heating and electrical wholesaler, is to open a new depot at Solihull in the West Midlands, creating 12 jobs.

Aldi, the discount food retailer, is to build a distribution centre just outside Chelmsford.

Safeway is planning to spend £40m developing its stores in Northern Ireland, including new stores in Omagh and Downpatrick, with the creation of 250 jobs.

Brown & Jackson has acquired B&J Props from Pepkor of South Africa for £2.3m, which will reduce its exposure to rent increases as B&J Props owns 14 of Brown & Jackson's stores.

Game, the entertainment software retailer, is to open a further five stores by September and a further 50 by May 2001 to add to the existing 65.

Boots has sold its Do It All chain of 139 DIY stores to Focus Retail, which is backed by Duke Street Capital, for £68m.

Asprey Group has sold Hamilton & Inches, the Scottish jeweller, to management.

Wm Morrision has bought two superstores from Co-operative Retail Services, one in Hull and one in Chingford, and is now planning to expand its chain of 95 stores to 102 next year.

Electronics Boutique is planning to open a further 20 software stores before the end of the year, to add to the existing 158.

Tesco has announced plans to more than double the number of stores opening 24 hours to 63, creating 600 jobs.

Whitbread and Allied Domecq are in discussions to merge their off-licence chains - Thresher and Victoria Wine - into a 50:50 joint venture in response to the growing power of supermarkets.

JJB Sports is planning to acquire Sports Division for £290m, which would give it a much stronger bargaining position with the major sportswear manufacturers.

Jessops has acquired City Camera Exchange, the chain of 13 photographic shops, for undisclosed terms.

Davis Service is acquiring Laundrycraft, the linen rental concern, for £7.2m.

Johnson Service, the dry-cleaning chain, is acquiring Connacht Court, the Irish textile rental company, for £33m.

BP and Safeway have announced plans to set up a chain of 100 mini-supermarkets at petrol stations over the next four years, creating 2,000 jobs.

Courts is acquiring the Burns Philp chain of furniture stores in Fiji, which will give it a 60% share of the furniture retailing market.

Somerfield is planning a £1bn investment programme, that will involve the creation of 5,000 jobs and the conversion of more than 800 recently-acquired Kwik Save stores to the Somerfield format.

Dixons is planning to open 100 new stores, including 13 PC Worlds, and create 2,000 new jobs, despite a slowdown in consumer spending.

Waterstone's has announced a £14m expansion programme that will see the opening of seven new bookstores, including a £3m superstore at London's Oxford Circus, and the conversion of 48 of its recently-acquired Dillons stores.

The Bluewater shopping centre near Dartford is beginning a roadshow across the south-east of England in order to recruit 6,700 staff in preparation for its opening next March.

Thorn is to acquire Eclipse Retail, the Australian rental company, for £25m, and will combine it with its Radio Rentals business in Australia and New Zealand which it will then sell off.

Dixons is buying Seeboard's chain of 39 electrical retail stores for about £20m, and is said to be planning to close up to two thirds of them.

Arcadia is acquiring Wade Smith, the Liverpool-based designer clothing retailer, for £17m, and will use the brand to launch a chain of 30 designer children's wear stores.

Nomura International is set to acquire Thorn, the rental group, for £980m, and the business is expected to be rationalised in preparation for a flotation.

Minit is to acquire Sketchley's retailing division, which includes 623 outlets, for £1.2m.

Asda is to invest £5m this year on a number of new initiatives including an internet store selling music, videos and books, a satellite TV shopping channel and a new home delivery service.

Asprey is to merge with Garrard to create a single luxury jewellery brand called Asprey & Garrard, while other parts of the Asprey retailing business will be sold off to raise up to £100m.

Kingfisher is to increase its stake in BUT, the French electrical retailer, from 26% to about 62% at a cost of £103m, and will combine the business with its pan-European Kingfisher Electrical Retailing division.

Watson & Philip is planning to open 90-100 Alldays convenience stores in the second half of this year, with most being franchised.

Thorn has sold its US rentals business to Renters Choice for £545m, and a large amount of the proceeds will be returned to shareholders.

Courts, the electrical and furniture retailer, is planning to open up to 10 UK superstores this year with an emphasis on northern England.

Portsmouth & Sunderland Newspapers is planning to open 40 convenience stores per year as part of an ongoing expansion programme for its One Stop Community Stores chain.

Tesco is planning to open a further 21 stores in the UK this year, as part of an expansion programme that will create about 10,000 jobs.

WH Smith is acquiring the Internet Bookshop, which claims to be Europe's largest internet bookshop, for £8.8m.

Allders is planning to open two new At Home furnishing stores in Chester and Chichester, creating around 150 jobs.

Powerhouse Holdings, the electrical appliances retailer, is planning to expand its chain of superstores from 39 to 50 and then hopes to undergo a flotation next year.

Storehouse is looking to expand into the home furnishings market and is also planning to refurbish its smaller Mothercare outlets and add an extra 12 Bhs stores, creating 1,500 jobs.

Marks & Spencer has confirmed its commitment to a £2.2bn expansion plan that will include an extra 1.5m sq ft of retail space in the UK and 900,000 sq ft overseas.

GAME, the computer games retailer, is to raise about £10m in a flotation in order to fund the expansion of its chain from 65 outlets to at least 120 over the next three years.

Matalan is to raise £10.3m in a flotation on May 14, some of which will be used to refurbish and expand its chain of out-of-town clothes shops.

Kingfisher is buying 60% stakes in two German electrical retailers - Wegert Verwaltungs and Promarkt Holding - for £49m, as part of a strategy to create a global retailing business.

Whittard of Chelsea is considering plans to set up a chain of 100 kitchen stores over the next three years, selling kitchen utensils and storage jars.

Grampian Holdings is planning to open 100 Edinburgh Woollen Mill clothes shops over the next three years, and will sell off its branded leisure goods business in order to fund the expansion.

Amazon of the US has acquired Bookpages, the UK internet bookshop, as part of a European expansion programme.

Debenhams has announced plans for an additional six new stores, which along with the 10 previously announced would create 6,000 jobs.

Great Universal Stores has won its takeover battle for Argos having received sufficient acceptances from shareholders for the £1.9bn bid.

Game, the computer games retailer, is planning to double the size of its chain to 120 within three years, and funding will come from a £45m share placing later this spring.

JJB Sports expects to open a further 50 sports shops this year, to add to the current 202.

DFS Furniture is to open up to 20 new stores over the next three years, with five due to open before August 1998.

Budgens is planning to open a further 20 Xpress convenience stores on Q8 petrol station forecourts over the next two years.

Tesco is to open 26 UK stores this year, and has outlined plans to double overseas investment this year with particular emphasis on Ireland and central Europe.

Oasis is acquiring Coast, the womenswear retailer with 35 outlets, for £0.8m.

United Overseas Group, the distributor of surplus branded consumer goods, is acquiring Intertrading Agencies Boersema Beheer of the Netherlands for £22m, in order to speed up its expansion into continental Europe.

Matalan, the out-of-town clothing retailer, is to raise £15m of new money in a flotation next month in order to pay off debts, while it also plans to open 10 new stores this year.

Electronics Boutique, the computer games retailer, is planning to add 30 stores to its current 150 this year, and is also looking to expand into Germany, France, Spain and Sweden.

Great Universal Stores has succeeded with its £545m takeover battle for Metromail, the US database marketer, having beaten off a rival offer from American Business Information.

Borders of the US is to open a book and music superstore in Brighton in the autumn, followed by one in London next spring.

New Look, the fashion retailer, is planning to raise £100m in a flotation in order to repay debt, redeem preference shares, and finance a roll-out of 150 stores.

James Beattie is considering plans to invest £18m in the expansion of its existing department stores, the opening of new stores and possibly an acquisition.

Flying Flowers has acquired Stanley Gibbons, the stamp dealer, for £13.5m, as part of a strategy to build up its mail order business with strong brand names in niche markets.

Moss Bros is planning to open 10 new menswear stores this year, and has identified 40 potential sites.

Goldsmiths is planning to open up to 20 jewellery stores over the next year, having opened 15 over the last year.

Freeport Leisure is to raise £63m in a rights issue in order to fund the development of two new discount factory outlets.

J Sainsbury has confirmed plans to launch a home shopping service at 32 of its larger stores, enabling customers to order groceries via phone, fax or internet, and about 500 jobs will be created.

Clinton Cards is planning to open up to 40 outlets this year to add to the existing 476.

Wm Morrison is planning to create 2,400 jobs this year and open a further six supermarkets, including two in the south.

Great Universal Stores is acquiring Metromail, the US database marketing company, for about £500m, as part of a strategy to build up a US information services business.

WH Smith has confirmed that it is planning to buy the John Menzies retail chain for £68m, which will result in some job losses and the rebranding of the Menzies stores in England and Wales.

EMI and Advent International of the US are to buy the Waterstone's chain of book stores from WH Smith for £300m, through a joint venture called HMV Media that will also acquire the 271 HMV music stores and the Dillons chain of book stores from EMI for £500m.

Somerfield and Kwik Save have agreed a £1.4bn merger that will lead to the creation of a £6bn food retailing business, but job losses could result from the closure of a number of Kwik Save stores and the Prestatyn head office.

Laughton Rainsford has acquired Thomas Cork, the provider of in-store merchandising displays, for £32m.

Hawkesbay Sportswear, the US clothing company, has acquired three factories in Ireland in preparation for the creation of 1,200 jobs and 100 retail outlets in the UK and Ireland.

Sears has sold its Cable & Co chain of shoe shops to Nine West of the US for £6m, thus completing its exit from the shoe business.

Topps Tiles is planning to increase its chain of stores from 61 to over 100 by May 2000.

Knickerbox, the underwear retailer, has been bought from administration by corporate recovery specialist Klesch Capital Partners for undisclosed terms, and the shops will now be refurbished and expanded.

Tomkins has sold its Carriage House Fruit retail operation in California to New West Foods, and the price is expected to exceed the asset value of £8m.

Argos has issued a profits warning due to poor sales of toys, jewellery and electrical goods, while it has also announced plans to cut 100 head office jobs, close a warehouse in Welwyn Garden City, create a new distribution centre in Lancashire, and pilot a home shopping service.

Borders of the US is to open a superstore in London's Oxford Street selling books, videos, music and computer games, and will follow this up with a chain of UK stores including an outlet in Leeds that is due to open in the autumn.

Readicut International has sold European Carpets to Interface Group of the US for £30m.