Retail tycoon Chris Dawson, owner of The Range, has opened a raft of temporary stores under the new fascia Trading Bargains to trade stock bought after the collapse of MFI.
Following MFI’s demise late last year, Dawson has acquired all of the defunct retailer’s stock, which he is selling through stores and online.
The entrepreneur has already taken on six new stores to trade the stock, including four former MFI shops and one former Focus store.
Dawson confirmed that he had acquired the MFI stock and would be trading out of these and more stores, which he is in the process of acquiring. He said that two more shops were likely to have been signed this week and he hoped to add about 20 more in the coming weeks.
The units have been acquired on a temporary basis, with leases of between three and six months having been signed.
Dawson would not comment on whether the stores had been taken from landlords or administrators, but by the time the temporary leases expire it is likely that all the stores will have been returned to their landlords.
The majority of MFI stores are still in the hands of the administrator MCR but a few have been returned to landlords when requested.
When the MFI stock has run out Dawson will consider relinquishing the leases or taking them on permanently to trade under The Range fascia.
Dawson said: “If they trade well I will be negotiating a permanent lease there and they will re-emerge as The Range.”
He emphasised that the final fate of the stores had yet to be determined and that decisions would be based on negotiations at the time. The stock is also being sold on Trading Bargains’ website – Mfistock.co.uk – and in concessions in six Range stores.
The standalone Trading Bargains stores already up and running are all in the south of England, mainly in the London area. At present the retailer is trading in Colindale, Barking, Gillingham, Tunbridge Wells, Reading and Wembley.
More shops are due in the South, including in Wimbledon and Brighton.