Lewis has green light for Botswana, Lesotho stores

Cape Town - Lewis Group has received regulatory and competition approvals for the acquisition of 20 Ellerines and Beares stores in Botswana and 10 in Lesotho, the group said on Monday.

This follows the announcement in November 2015 of the proposed acquisition of 62 Ellerines and Beares stores in southern Africa for approximately R250m. This effectively doubled the group’s African store footprint.

The group said the stores in Lesotho have been integrated into its operations, while the Botswana stores will commence trading in the Lewis stable from early March 2016.

Competition approvals are still awaited on the 21 stores purchased in Namibia and six in Swaziland.

Lewis already expanded into neighbouring southern African countries in the late 1960s. Prior to these acquisitions, the group had 62 stores in these four countries.

CEO Johan Enslin said the acquisition of these Ellerines and Beares stores will enable Lewis to expand and diversify its southern African footprint.

“We are not only gaining access to new segments of the furniture retail market but also expanding our existing customer base in each of these countries. Once all these stores are fully operational they are expected to make a meaningful contribution to the group,” he said.

Lewis Group purchased the Beares brand and 61 stores in South Africa in November 2014 after parent company Ellerines Furnishers was placed under business rescue.

Enslin said the Beares chain has since been expanded to 84 stores in South Africa and enabled the group to attract customers in higher income segments than its traditional target market.

“The addition of the Beares stores in southern Africa will further improve our buying power and bring immediate scale benefits,” he said.


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