6 (5) Blakemore Retail


Sales:£442m (+3%) 

Pre-tax profits:N/A

Stores:319 (-1%)

Independent Spar wholesaler AF Blakemore opened its first shop in 1917. It now has 319, mostly in the Midlands and Wales, after closing three last year. And it drops a place in our ranking, despite sales improving by 3%, due to the high-octane growth of Euro Garages.


7 (16) Petrogas UK

Applegreen petrogas

Sales:£411.0m (+3%)

Pre-tax profits:N/A (N/A)

Stores:54 (29%)

Owned by CEO Bob Etchingham and retail director Joe Barrett, Ireland’s largest independent forecourt retailer, trading as Applegreen, was founded in 1992. In 2014 it added 12 new sites to its UK store portfolio and redeveloped 10 existing stores, taking it to 54 outlets overall. It plans to expand further here in 2015.


8 (6) Poundstretcher


Sales:£395.4m (+7%)

Pre-tax profits:£1.3m (N/A)

Stores:409 (2%)

Despite more stores than anyone else in the Top 50, Poundstretcher - founded in 1981 and bought by Rashid and Aziz Tayub, the owners of wholesaler Crown Crest, in 2010 - has struggled in recent years. Now it’s back in profit. And after a strong Christmas, new MD Ian York is aiming for £520m turnover this year.


9 (7) 99p Stores

Hussein Lalani, 99p Stores

Sales:£370.4m (+8%)

Pre-tax profits:-£734k (-26%)

Stores:239 (12%)

This is likely the last appearance of 99p Stores in the Top 50 - unless the Competition and Markets Authority blocks Poundland’s proposed £55m deal. Founded in 2001 by the Lalani family following the sale of their upmarket Europa chain to Tesco in 2004, 99p Stores has been for sale since 2011.


10 (9) Poundworld


Sales:£345.2m (+18%)

Pre-tax profits:£5m (+164%)

Stores:245 (+15%)

Their biggest single-price discount rival floated. It’s about to buy 99p Stores. And Poundworld owners Chris Edwards and his son Chris Edwards Jr are hoping for a similarly cash event, with TPG said to be interested. Meantime, they’ve opened 35 new stores, rebranded its Discount UK stores as Bargain Buys, and opened an office in Shanghai.

Forward to: Top 50 Independents 11-20

Back to: 5. Euro Garages