Nigel Mills, group MD of Mills Group, studied economics, accountancy and law at university. After qualifying as a chartered accountant in 1984 he worked in the London offices of professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In 1986 he turned his back on accountancy to set up Mills Group with his father. The pair acquired a chain of 11 newsagents in the Newcastle area and over the next five years expanded the CTN business across the north east, Cumbria and the East Midlands by developing a 'news and booze' offer in stores.
The chain became a real family affair, with Mills' brother-in-law coming on board as the retailer's financial director.
By 1994 Mills Group had a portfolio of more than 30 stores. Over the next nine years, the retailer began developing a
c-store concept by introducing categories such as alcohol, grocery, post office and home newspaper delivery. In 2003, the group was again on the acquisition trail, acquiring Morgam News, a chain of 27 c-stores across the West Midlands.
Mills Group now boasts a portfolio of 75 stores serving the north east, Cumbria, Yorkshire, East Midlands, West Midlands and South Wales regions. It employs 1,150 staff and an estimated 450,000 customers visit Mills stores each week.
The group delivers newspapers and magazines to 26,000 homes 364 days a year, putting it in the top six UK retailers for home news delivery.