Lewis acquires 57 stores in Africa

Cape Town - Lewis Group [JSE:LEW] has completed the acquisition of a portfolio of 57 Ellerines and Beares stores in four southern African countries, the group announced this week.

This expands its store presence outside South Africa to 120 and follows regulatory and competition approvals in each of these countries for the R250m acquisition announced in November 2015.

The stores are located in Namibia (21 stores), Botswana (20), Lesotho (10) and Swaziland (6).

CEO Johan Enslin said the newly-acquired stores should make a meaningful contribution to the group’s profitability in the medium term.

“The stores in Botswana and Lesotho have already been incorporated into the group’s operations, with the Swaziland stores due to be integrated in early April and the Namibian stores in early May. The stores will trade under either the Lewis or Beares brands,” he said.

Lewis Group purchased the Beares brand and 61 stores in SA in 2014 after parent company Ellerines Furnishers was placed under business rescue. The Beares chain has since been expanded to 84 stores in SA under Lewis Group’s ownership.

Enslin said the addition of these Beares stores in southern Africa will boost buying power and bring immediate scale benefits.

Lewis was one of the first local retailers to expand into neighbouring southern African countries in the late 1960s.  Stores outside SA now comprise 15% of the group’s store base.

“The acquisition of these stores will provide Lewis with access to new segments of the furniture retail market and also expand our existing customer base in each of these countries. Lewis has operated in these four countries for over 50 years, so has extensive experience in these markets and a thorough understanding of the trading environments,” said Enslin.

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