In the first major acquisition by a Top 50 independent for nearly a year, Smile Stores has added 25-strong Nugent Westward to its business, taking its portfolio of convenience outlets to 110.
Nugent Westward’s Spar-branded stores are spread throughout the south west of England and are between 1,500 to 2,500 sq ft each.
They will eventually be rebranded under the Smile fascia.
Smile Stores’ chief executive Jeremy Symonds said the acquisitions, along with one or two individual sites the company planned to acquire later in the year, would almost double the company’s turnover by 2006 to about £80m.
He said: “This was a natural acquisition because all 25 stores fit with our existing south of England locations. We are still keen to grow - there are individual stores in the pipeline and we are seeking other good quality stores.”
This is Smile’s first big buy since JCR News three years ago and Symonds was positive about the sector despite consolidation. It was vital to provide fast, friendly service, the right range and good availability, he added.
“There is still a very bright future for independents in the c-store sector. There’s no doubt the multiple influx is apparent. But those of us that remain independent have to compete in this arena and ensure that what we offer is exactly what our customers require.”