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- 1 Controversies & Conflicts
- 2 Plastic Packaging
- 3 Timelines
- 3.1 Co-op Food
- 3.2 Somerfield Stores
- 3.3 International Stores Ltd
- 3.4 Kwik Save
- 3.5 Fine Fare Ltd
- 4 References
Controversies & Conflicts
- Jan.14.2018: What are supermarkets doing to fight plastic? Plastic waste is "one of the great environmental scourges of our time". These are the words of Prime Minister Theresa May, who has pledged to ban all avoidable plastic waste in the UK by 2042. Despite extending the 5p charge on single-use plastic bags, major retailers in England still sold 2.1bn in the last financial year. But organisations like Greenpeace UK are sceptical about the plan, citing Mrs May's "vague aspirations". So what are Britain's 10 biggest supermarkets doing to combat the "scourge" of plastic? Co-Op aims for 80% of its products to have "easily recyclable" packaging by 2020. It has replaced polystyrene pizza discs with cardboard, saving 200 tonnes of plastic from landfill, and uses single-plastic packaging for meat, poultry and fish products. It has also supported the idea of a deposit return scheme for bottles. BBC News.
Co-op Food is the brand used by the food retail business of the consumer co-operative movement in the UK. The brand is used by 15+ different co-operative societies which operate over 4,000 shops, and does not represent one single food retail business.
- May.2016: Disposals: 36 former Somerfield stores were sold to the Food Retailer Group Ltd, a subsidiary of Hilco Capital. As part of the deal, all 36 stores were re-branded as Budgens, with all staff transferring to the new business. ref, ref Additionally, 60 empty stores, offices and garages were also sold to Hilco.ref,ref
- May.2016: Rebrand: the Co-op brand was replaced with a revitalised 1968 Clover leaf logo, bringing Co-op back to the high street.
- 2016: Disposals: 298 smaller convenience stores to rival McColls Retail Group to raise cash to re-invest into its core food retail business.ref
- Mar.2009: #Somerfield Stores was acquired from a group of private equity investors, after receiving approval from the Office of Fair Trading, subject to the condition that 133 out of the 900 stores were sold. The acquisition made the Co-op into the 5th-largest supermarket chain in the UK.
- Jul.2007: United Co-operatives, a fellow mutual, acquired. Co-op expanded.ref
- 2003: Balfour Convenience Stores, a convenience store chain with 76 branches and 35 newsages, was acquired.ref
- Oct.2002: #Alldays plc, an ailing convenience chain of 637 stores, was snapped up from the Receivers.ref,ref todo, todo, ,
- ... ...
- 1863: Co-operative Wholesale Society: independent co-op societies came together to form the CWS. These societies provided Co-op products to sell in hundreds of Co-op stores.
- 1844: The Rochdale Pioneers ... [ todo], [ todo]
Somerfield Ltd #2
ToDo: link, Other chains owned at some point: Wallis, Medicare, USA's 4th largest drug chain; and 2 more American sporting goods outfits.
Somerfield was a supermarket chain operating small to medium-sized stores in the UK. It did well, until it became the bone in a private equity bidding war, when the amount of leverage became unsustainable, leading to losses and troubled years. #Co-op Food took it over in Mar.2009, creating the UK's 5th-largest food retailer.ref
- Mar.2009: Co-op Food purchased Somerfield Ltd from its private equity owners, after approval from the Office of Fair Trading was received, subject to the condition that 133 stores were sold. The acquisition made the Co-op into the 5th-largest supermarket chain in the UK.
- 2009-2011: Rebrand: the Co-operative brand replaced the Somerfield name in a rolling programme.
- 2007: bought 140 Texaco petrol stations. Somerfield tripled the size of some of their shops, using a similar format to its convenience stores. Signage was replaced with the Somerfield brand.ref
- Mar.2008: Tesco bought another 7 stores.
- Nov.2006: Marks & Spencer bought a further 12 stores.ref
- Aug.2006: Poorly-performing stores, and unsuccessful ex-Kwik Save sites were closed,ref or sold to other groups.ref
- Feb.2006: the Kwik Save brand and 171 stores (plus a further 19 later) were sold to BTTF Ltd, an investment vehicle headed by Paul Niklas, after it was found that Kwik Save losses were absorbing ~40% of overall profits. Another 77 stores were sold to other retailers (Netto, Lidl, Aldi), and the remaining 102 were rebranded as Somerfield.,ref
- Dec.2005: Somerfield Ltd: Somerfield plc was acquired by a private equity consortium consisting of Apax Partners LLP, Barclays Capital and the Tchenguiz Family Trust.ref,ref The company was delisted and taken private.
- 2005: Somerfield closed 22 of its 51 Kwik Save stores in Scotland, with the remainder being re-branded under the Somerfield fascia, thus removing the Kwik Save brand from the marketplace north of the border.,ref
- Mar.2005: Petrol Forecourt Stores: Somerfield agreed a sale and leaseback deal with private equity firm Palmer Capital Partners Ltd www.palmercapital.co.uk for the potential development of 118 Texaco forecourt convenience stores. In Apr., Somerfield announced the conditional purchase of 22 petrol forecourt convenience stores from Fuelforce Ltd. Once redeveloped, Somerfield planned to operate these as 'Essentials' stores.
- Oct.2004: Safeway Compact: 114 former Safeway stores were purchased from Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc, and rebranded as Somerfield.,ref The Competition Commission required the disposal of 12 stores.ref
- 2003: Somerfield closed 33 unprofitable Kwik Save stores.
- 2002: Somerfield changed its logo from a rectangular shape to a more contemporary design. Somerfield Essentials and Somerfield Market Fresh store formats were introduced.ref
- Jun.2000: Somerfield 24-7: after suffering large losses, and being described as an "ill-fated foray", development was halted.ref,ref
- Jan.2000 announced: Somerfield sold 46 of its larger stores to ??
- Jul.1999: Somerfield 24-7: Somerfield Direct launched internet ordering, and re-branded itself.ref,ref
- Apr.1999: Supermarket Direct was acquired to extend Somerfield Direct's range to the London area.ref
- Mar.1999: Somerfield Direct Ltd, a catalogue and call-centre home shopping service, was launched in Bristol.ref,ref
- Nov.1999: Sell-off announced: larger Kwik Save stores were to be converted; ~500 other Somerfield and Kwik Save stores were to be sold or closed. Kwik Save became a trading division of Somerfield Stores Ltd.ref,ref Sell-off cancelled in Jan.2000.
- Mar.1998 (announced): Kwik Save Group plc, with 880 stores, was taken over; Somerfield investors owned 62.5% of the enlarged group.ref Alas, Kwik Save's "downmarket" format and locations did not mesh well with Somerfield's carefully curated image and market positioning.
- 1997: Somerfield website was launched, which gave customers online access to offers, services and recipes, as well as online shopping via the chain's free Home Delivery service.
- 1996: Petrol Forecourt Stores: Somerfield entered into a partnership with Elf Aquitaine SA (later known as Total Fina Elf SA after being acquired by Totalfina SA in 2000).
- Aug.1996: Somerfield plc was floated on the London Stock Market in an initial public offering, with the proceeds being used to replay Isosceles' debtors.ref
Somerfield Stores Ltd
- May.1994: Somerfield Stores Ltd: Gateway Foodmarkets was renamed, as part of a two-year refurbishment program.ref
Somerfield Ltd #1
- Mar.1993: Herman's Sporting Goods Inc, starved and reeling, was sold to a USA investment group, including two New York banking firms, and the Taggart-Fasola Group. (After some life-saving amputations, Herman's was turned around.)
- late.1992: FA Wellworth Ltd, with 33 stores in Northern Ireland, was sold to Erne Holdings, a joint venture between Fitzwilton plc (42.7%), institutional investors (54.3%) and management (3%).
- ??.1992: disposed of the Spanish distributing business.
- Apr.1992: Disposed of the delivered wholesale business.
- 1992: burdened by massive debt; laid off 2,000 workers.link, link
- 1992: Somerfield Ltd: Gateway Corporation changed its name, after a successful pilot scheme in 1990 in Burnham on Sea, Somerset. By 1994, all Gateway stores had been rebranded as Somerfield.
- 1991: Food Giant, a new discount brand, was launched in Nottingham.
- 1990s: Debts soared: the company almost collapsed under a “mountain of debt”.ref,link
- Nov.1989: Medicare drugstore chain, acquired ~1987, was sold.
- Jul.1989: Isosceles plc, an investment holdco formed by a private equity syndicate including 3i, Mercury Asset Management, CIN Ventures and Wasserstein Perella, won a 3-month bidding war and took Gateway private.ref, The price had been pushed through the roof by USA private equity firm Wasserstein, Perella & Company, in tandem with the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, a large USA supermarket chain. The deal was partly financed by a pre-arranged sale of 61 of the largest Gateway superstores to Asda.ref, p.9 The 3-5 year plan was to re-focus the company on medium-sized high street outlets, flog off the rest, and refloat it. The plan didn't work out too well.ref, p.20
- 1988: Gateway Corporation: Dee Corporation was renamed.ref By this time, the group owned ~800 stores.
Dee Corporation plc
- 1987: Dee Corporation ran into problems, chiefly due to the difficulty of integrating so many disparate businesses. Some disposals were made, including the Linfood wholesaling operation to Budgens.
- late.1980s: Carrefour Hypermarkets, Carrefour's UK arm, was purchased upon the French retailer's exit from the UK.
- Jun.1986: #Fine Fare Ltd supermarket chain, with 419 outlets, was purchased from Associated British Foods.
- ??.1986: Woolworth Holdings plc's larger ex-Woolco stores were purchased, and later re-opened as Gateway superstores.ref
- 1985: Herman's Sporting Goods Inc, American's largest sporting goods retailer with 130 stores, was purchased from WR Grace & Company, which held a 56% stake. Herman's crumbled under the mountain of debt incurred to buy it, coupled with efforts to turn a regional chain into a national one.
- late.1984: #International Stores, with ~380 outlets, was purchased from BAT Industries plc. Dee planned to rebrand all International Store outlets under the Gateway Foodmarkets fascia.
- 1984: Lennons Supermarkets, based in Manchester with 41 supermarkets and 97 off-licences, was acquired. All the stores were converted to Frank Dee format.
- Dec.1983: FA Wellworth Ltd and Broadfields Ltd, with 20 retail stores in Northern Ireland, and another two in the Republic of Ireland, were acquired.
- Sept.1983: Dee Corporation plc: Linfood Holdings plc was renamed, with Frank Dee Supermarkets, Fine Fare, and Key Markets all being rebranded with the Gateway fascia.
- Jun.1983: Key Markets Ltd, a 98-outlet chain operating mainly in East Anglia and Southern England, was acquired from Fitch Lovell plc, and merged with the Gateway business. In Nov.1982, the proposed acquisition had been referred to the Monopolies & Mergers Commission.ref,ref
- May.1983: Modern Foodmarkets Ltd, with 8 retail stores in the north, were acquired.
- Apr.1982: Amalgamated Foods Ltd was created by the management buyout of Linfood's delivered wholesale business; Linfood lent them £7m.
- 1978: Carrefour Hypermarkets: Linfood acquired a number of outlets from Carrefour upon the French retailer's exit from the UK.
- 1977: Linfood Holdings Ltd took over Gateway Foodmarkets.
- 1974: Linfood Holdings Ltd was formed when Associated Food Holdings Ltd and Thomas Linnell & Company Ltd merged.
- Sept.1972: Carrefour, in a minority partnership with Linfood, opened its first UK hypermarket at Caerphilly in South Wales. These early huge stores were permitted valuable A1 retail consents. In due course, they were sold on, and are now Asda Wal-Mart outlets.
- 1970: Associated Food Holdings Ltd took over Frank Dee Supermarkets.
- 1964: Frank Dee Supermarkets: Frank Dee purchased the wholesaler that had been part of JH Mills Ltd, and developed a chain operating in the north and east of England. Frank Dee Supermarkets, with its larger DEE Discount sores, shortly had a chain of 79 supermarkets.
- 1950: Gateway Foodmarkets: JH Mills Ltd metamorphosed into a self-service supermarket chain when Tyndall's, a Bristol finance house, gained a majority shareholding.ref
- 1900:JH Mills Ltd was incorporated.
- 1875: JH Mills opened a small family grocery store in Bristol.
Additional Sources: History - Somerfield Stores Somerfield plc. &iams; About us: History Somerfiel Group plc. Original archived on Dec.18.2008.
International Stores Ltd
ToDo: Other stores in the Int'l Stores group were Payantake, Priceright, Ridgways Tea. piclink, piclink, piclink,
- 1984: #Dee Corporation plc purchased International Stores Ltd and its remaining ~380 stores, from BAT Industries plc. Dee subsequently rebranded all International Store outlets under the Gateway Foodmarkets fascia.
- 1982: Argyll Foods plc purchased 67 branches.ref
- 1980: #Fine Fare purchased the Price Rite stores in the south of England.
- 1980: Mainstop, a new brand, was created to develop the new superstore division.
- Apr.1979: Mac Food Centres, the multi-line large footprint stores of #Mac Fisheries, were acquired from Unilever.ref link, piclink
- 1977: Wallis Supermarkets:, 100 stores were acquired from ??.ref
- 1973: Price Rite chain was purchased from ??.
- 1972: International Stores Ltd: International Tea Company Stores Ltd was acquired by BAT Industries plc, and changed its name. was acquired.
- 1929: Star Supply Stores, parent company of Ridgeways Ltd, International Tea's main blenders, was acquired.
- 1895: International Tea Company Stores Ltd and Kearley & Tongue Ltd were incorporated.
- 1887: Kearley & Tongue: Mr Heseltine retired.
- 1880: Heseltine & Kearley: Mr Heseltine, an influential member of E Tetleys & Son, joined Hudson Kearley in business. Shortly afterwards, Gilbert Augustus Tonge, a Tetleys apprentice, joined in, with the firm being renamed as "Heseltine, Kearly & Tongue".
- 1878: International Tea Company was the name used for the retail branches, which sold directly to consumers. The buying and wholesaling operations were retained under the parent company name.
- 1876: Kearley & Company was founded in London by Hudson Ewbanke Kearley to sell tea directly to small shopkeepers, who were unable to put large enough orders in to wholesalers.
In Apr.2012, the Kwik Save brand was relaunched as a budget fascia for convenience shops supplied by Costcutter.ref,ref Website
- Apr.2009: FX Holdings Ltd was placed into administration, subject to a request for a winding up order.ref,ref All the remaining stores were closed.ref
- Apr.2008: FreshExpress Mk II: FX Holdings Ltd, another vehicle, received the go-ahead at Manchester Crown Court to acquire the remaining operating outlets. Andrew King, a former executive at Costcutter, one of the company's suppliers, was to head up a 9-store chain with 130 employees.ref
- Mar.2008: FreshXpress went into administration.ref,ref
- Sept.2007-Mar.2008: Closures: More under-performing FreshXpress stores were closed, leaving just 9.ref
- Sept.2007: Closures: The portfolio of stores was reduced from 56 to just 23 better performing stores.ref The other 33 stores were sold in chunks to Tesco, Sainsbury's, and the Co-op.ref
- Jul.2007: FreshXpress Retail Ltd started life with Kwik Save's remaining 56 stores,ref,ref saving ~600 jobs.ref,ref
Kwik Save Group
- ?? Discount Foods Ltd which became one of the bases for Oriel Foods and thus Argyll.p.12
- Jul.2007: Kwik Save went into administration, closing 90 stores, with the loss of 1,100 jobs. The remaining 56 stores were transferred to a new company, #FreshXpress.
- May.2007: A further 79 stores were closed, leaving 147 open.
- Feb.2006: Back to the Future: (BTTF Ltd) bought the Kwik Save brand and 170 stores from Somerfield. BTTF Ltd was an investment vehicle headed by Paul Niklas and former Peacocks Stores Ltd CEO Richard Kirk.ref,ref The decision was taken after it was found that Kwik Save losses were absorbing ~40% of overall group profits. Another 77 stores were sold to other retailers (Netto, Lidl, Aldi), with the remaining 102 being rebranded as Somerfield.ref
- Mar.1998: #Somerfield plc took over Kwik Save, with Somerfield shareholders owning 62.5% of the enlarged group.ref
- Feb.1989: Victor Value, a 45-outlet chain of discount grocery stores based in London, was purchased from frozen food retailer Bejam Group plc. vv link, tesco link, vv piclink
- 1987: Dee Corporation sold 23 outlets in the Midlands to Kwik Save.
- ??.1986: Tates brought 12 food shops, 14 wine shops, 6 convenience stores into the fold.
- Jan.1986:Kwik Save Group plc: Kwik Save Discount Group plc changed its name, with the word "Discount" disappearing from all store fascias.
- 1980: Colemans Meat was purchased.
- 1978: Cee-n-Cee, a 49-chain supermarket chain, was acquired.
- 1973: Kwik Save was sold to ??.
- Apr/May.1972: The Gubay family sold ~27% of their shareholdings, retaining ~15%.
- Nov.1970: Kwik Save Discount Group plc floated on the London Stock Exchange, with Albert Gubay retaining a ~45% shareholding.
- ??.1970: Kwik Save Discount Group Ltd: Value Foods Ltd changed its name.
- 1965: Kwik Save Discount, the first discount supermarket, opened in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. The limited-range, low-price strategy came after a visit to the USA in 1964/1965.
- 1962: Value Foods Ltd opened its first supermarket in Prestatyn, North Wales.
- Jul.1959: Value Foods Ltd was founded by Albert Gubay as a single shop in Rhyl, North Wales.
Fine Fare Ltd
ToDo: Other takeovers: CH Kaye, with 21 stores in St Albans; Stitchers in Biggleswade; Melia's owned Merlin's.
- 1988: The Fine Fare name was discontinued when #Gateway Corporation's stores were all rebranded under the Gateway fascia.
- 1980: Price Rite stores in the south of England were purchased from #International Stores Ltd.
- Jun.1986: #Dee Corporation purchased Fine Fare, along with Shoppers Paradise, from Associated British Foods plc.
- ?date?: Shoppers Paradise, a discount food store chain, was launched? / acquired? See 
- ?date?: Fix and Fit, a chain of DIY stores, was launched as Fine Fare's move into the burgeoning DIY industry. In 1986, the Fix & Fit chain was sold to WH Smith's Do It All.
- ?date?: Melia's, a convenience food store chain, was acquired ?? / sold ?? ABF held Melias at some point.
- Jan.1976: Downsway Supermarkets Ltd: 47 of the 80 outlets of the East Anglia-based chain were bought from the Vestey Family's Union International.
- May.1973: Payless Discount Drug Stores: Fine Fare opened a Payless within its Letchworth self-service supermarket, as one of eight prototypes.
- 1968?: Elmo Stores Ltd, a small 28-outlet chain based in East Anglia and the south of England, was acquired.
- 196?: Burton Supermarkets, a small Nottingham-based chain, was acquired.
- May.1967: Savory & Moore Ltd, a chain of pharmacists, became a member of Fine Fare (Holdings) Ltd when 100% of its ordinary shares were purchased; preference shares were excluded from the transaction. Savory & Moore
- 1965-1970: Self-Service: Fine Fare had 25 separate fascias around the country, with over half being counter service. The separate fascias were organised under one logo, and all stores were converted to self-service, halving wage costs.:80
- Jan.1963: Associated British Foods plc, controlled by Canada's Weston family, purchased the company.
- 1962: Fine Fare had 200+ stores.
- 1955: Coopers & Company Stores Ltd, one of Scotland's leading grocery shop chains founded in 1871 by Thomas G Bishop, was acquired.
- 1951: Welwyn Department Store, owned by Ebenezer Howard's Howardsgate Holdings, opened a supermarket in Welwyn Garden City.