Morrisons has bought online baby products retailer Kiddicare for £70m in the first step in developing the grocer’s etail operation.
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Morrisons will continue to trade Kiddicare separately, led by owners Scott and Elaine Weavers-Wright.
The deal also includes the rights to Kiddicare’s technology platform.
Morrisons will build its online non-food business, developing the kiddicare.com platform and management team, launching its first products in 2012. The deal will give Morrisons a platform to kick start its online business.
Kiddicare was founded in 1974, and turnover in the last full financial year of 2010 was £37.5m. It has grown by 75% in the past three years. Over 80% of sales are now through the online channel.
Kiddicare owns a freehold distribution facility and operates the largest baby nursery equipment retail store in Europe based in Peterborough, comprising 160,000 sq ft of warehouse, retail and office space.
Dalton Philips, chief executive of Morrisons, said: “This acquisition brings not only a respected, successful and fast growing specialist retailer into the Morrisons group but also a robust, scalable and highly advanced technology platform around which we can begin to build our e-commerce offer.
“We are delighted to welcome Scott and Elaine Weavers-Wright to Morrisons, along with their team. They are two of the most talented and respected operators of online retail today and their experience and track record with Kiddicare.com has been outstanding. Their knowledge and expertise will be invaluable as Morrisons builds its online business.”
Scott Weavers-Wright, chief executive of Kiddicare.com, said: “Elaine and I are extremely excited about partnering with Morrisons to accelerate the pace of future growth at kiddicare.com and look forward to working with the Morrisons team to develop their on-line offer. There are fantastic synergies between the two businesses and our platform will allow both brands to enjoy future success and to continue to deliver an unrivalled customer experience.”
The acquisition is subject to certain conditions which if not satisfied by March 23 will allow Morrisons to terminate the agreement.
Kiddicare was put up for sale in December, as revealed by Retail Week.