If 2015 was a year driven by mergers and acquisitions, retailers have put their foot even more firmly on that pedal this year.
A flurry of high-profile acquisitions have been completed during the past 12 months, most notably the £1.4bn sale of Home Retail Group to Sainsbury’s.
While the grocer has set about leveraging the Argos and Habitat brands in its larger stores, the Homebase DIY chain is adjusting to life under the ownership of Australian giant Wesfarmers, which plans to rebrand the retailer as Bunnings.
Despite losing out to Sainsbury’s in the battle for control of Argos, South African conglomerate Steinhoff pulled off the second biggest retail deal of the year when it bagged Poundland in a £610m deal to expand its UK portfolio.
JD Sports also hit the acquisition trail hard, increasing its international footprint by buying Dutch chains Perry Sport and Aktiesport in March and Australian retailer Next Athleisure in September, before snapping up Go Outdoors for £112m last month.
Cycling businesses Halfords and Wiggle both made buys, with the former landing Tredz and Wheelies, before Wiggle bought rival Chain Reaction.
Conviviality and Game both hailed “transformational” buys of alcohol suppliers and gaming event specialists respectively, while Edinburgh Woollen Mill tycoon Philip Day landed Austin Reed – and now plans to revive its high street presence.
Private equity houses were busy this year too, as Baring Asia purchased Cath Kidston, Blue Gem acquired Jack Wills and True Capital bought The Cotswold Company.
Overseas, US retail titan Walmart splurged $3bn (£2.38bn) on fast-growing ecommerce business Jet.com and French electricals retailer Fnac outmuscled Conforama to win the race for Darty.
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Review of the Year: Retailers hit the acquisition trail