Anne Bruce West Country convenience chain Smile Newshops has acquired the JCR News group, boosting its portfolio to 79 stores. The 15 JCR stores supplied by T&A Symonds will be rebranded under the Smile Local fascia, with all 230 staff retained. JCR owners Mark Callaway and John Newman will also join Newshops. Callaway will become commercial director and oversee the integration of JCR into Smile, and Newman will become a non-executive director. Callaway said: "We felt the opportunity for a sale to Newshops was right , with synergies and benefits for both sides." Smile Newshops chief executive Jeremy Symonds said: "This purchase is a significant development for our company. JCR is extremely well run and all bar four of its stores are full-scale convenience." He added that although all 15 JCR stores fall within the Smile Newshops territory, none are in direct competition. Smile is also finalising purchases of two other stores, both independents, and continuing its refurbishment programme converting its portfolio from CTN to convenience. It has a target to refurbish all stores to its Smile fascia within 12 months, and 15 have been converted so far. {{NEWS }}