Primark owner acquires 120-strong chain
Associated British Foods has bought the Littlewoods Stores business for£409 million. The deal, which is likely to be completed by the end of this month, could spell the end for the Littlewoods name on the high street.

Littlewoods' assets are worth£431 million, according to ABF, which also operates the Primark chain. The retailer said it intends to retain only 40 per cent of Littlewoods' 120-store portfolio, which will be integrated into Primark.

ABF is confident that it will be able to sell the remaining 72 shops to other retailers, allowing it to claw back about£35 million from the acquisition. The retained outlets will continue to trade under the Littlewoods brand until next March. Retail restructuring specialist Hilco has been retained to manage the operations of the stores until then.

ABF chief executive George Weston said: 'This is a unique opportunity to acquire a portfolio of large stores in attractive high street locations. It will bring Primark to many towns and cities where it is not present.'