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Dunelm doubles its internet business by snapping up WorldStores and Kiddicare

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Dunelm has bagged an early Christmas bargain, snapping up WorldStores and its subsidiaries Kiddicare and Achica for £8.5m in a deal that it says will double the size of its internet business. Dunelm chief executive John Browett says the move brings together its store estate with WorldStores' internet capabilities to strong effect.

Dunelm chief executive John Browett said: "We are excited by this opportunity to accelerate the growth of our internet operation, more than doubling its size, and enhancing our position as the destination homewares retailer in the UK, both online and offline.

"Between the store network, broad product range and strong brand that Dunelm has built and Worldstores' extensive homewares and furniture offer and unique platform for next day delivery and flash sales, we will strengthen our leading position as the UK's Home of Homes."

The homewares group has bought WorldStores out of administration in a pre-pack sale handled by administrators KPMG. The deal, through Dunelm subsidiary Globe Online, means 650 jobs across the WorldStores companies are safeguarded, with all staff expected to stay on.

Will Wright, KPMG partner and joint administrator said, "Following an options process, we are delighted to have been able to secure this sale which preserves employment for all staff. We wish the buyer and all involved the best of luck for the future."

WorldStores, a Top500 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, was founded in 2008 by Richard Tucker and Joe Murray and now sells 500,000 products. Dunelm, a Top100 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, says its in-house developed technology platform manages suppliers and enables rapid cross-docking of stock directly from suppliers to customers so that customers can have next day, or day of choice, delivery on proudcts that mostly require two-man delivery.

Nursery retailer Kiddicare , a Top350 retailer in the IRUK Top500, was bought by WorldStores from Morrisons just over two years ago. Its Peterborough showroom is the WorldStores' group's only store. Achica, a Top500 retailer, is a members-only online store offering furniture, homewares and accessories through discounted flash sales.

Tucker and Murray said: "We're delighted to be working with Dunelm, in whom we have found a partner who shares our vision for our company and brands, and is backing our ambitious plans for growth."

Dunelm says that all three propositions complement its existing business and while it will also benefit from WorldStores' wide furniture range and its technology platform. It believes that it will benefit to the tune of £10m a year in the short-to-medium term as a result of extending WorldStores' multichannel delivery offer.

In the year to January 31 2015, WS Group, which operated the WorldStores business, reported a pre-tax loss of £6.5m. Dunelm, founded as a market stall in 1979 now trades online and through 160 stores, with more than 9,000 staff, reported a pre-tax profit of £129m in the year to July 2 2016.
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