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Morleys Stores acquires Camp Hopson of Newbury

Independent department store group Morleys Stores has acquired Camp Hopson, the family-owned department store business in Newbury, Berkshire, with immediate effect.

London-based Morleys runs seven stores under various names, including Elys in Wimbledon, Pearsons in Enfield and Morleys in Brixton.

Camp Hopson was founded in 1921 and has been run by the Hopson family for five generations. Through the deal, Morleys has acquired the department store and furniture store in Newbury, including the properties. Financial details have not been disclosed.

Morleys executive chairman Bernard Dreesmann said that up to £3m will be spent on bringing the main Camp Hopson store up to the standard of Elys in Wimbledon, whose first-floor fashion area and third-floor home are the most recent areas to have undergone investment.

Dreesmann said the acquisition “represents an excellent strategic fit to the existing business”. He added: “Both my team and I welcome the Camp Hopson staff into the Morleys Group.”

Jonathan Hopson, chief executive of Camp Hopson, said: “Camp Hopson has always sought to provide the best possible service to the people of Newbury. The department store and furniture store will benefit hugely from being part of a bigger independent department store group given the skills, expertise and buying power they bring.

“We’re delighted that Morleys Group will keep the Camp Hopson name, retain our existing staff and make a substantial new investment in the business. We couldn’t have found a better buyer to take these businesses on the next stage of their 90-year journey.”

Morleys managing director David Hordle, who joined the group from Boots in August this year, said: “Bernard assured me when I joined that we would actively look to acquire new businesses, but I didn’t realise it would be so soon. Naturally the whole business is very excited about this acquisition and opportunity. The long-established expertise of both businesses will help to drive the stores’ success going forward.”

Morleys, which was established in 1927, had sales of £90.6m in the year to January 2014, with a pre-tax profit of £7.1m. In the first nine months’ trading of this year, group like-for-like sales are up 6%.

The purchase of Camp Hobson will give Morleys a group turnover of more than £100m.

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