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British Industrial History

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Home and Colonial Stores

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Home and Colonial Stores was one of the UK's largest retail chains, a forerunner of the small number of food multiples that now dominate UK food retailing.

1883 The business was founded by Julius Drewe who went into partnership with John Musker selling groceries at a small shop in Edgware Road in London. He subsequently opened stores in Islington, Birmingham and Leeds.

1885 The shops mainly sold tea and by 1885 they were trading as the Home and Colonial Tea Association.

1888 Company incorporated. William Slaughter became chairman

c.1895 Public company

By the turn of the century the Company had over 100 stores

By 1903 it had 500 stores

1910 Home and Colonial Stores Ltd did not pay a dividend

1912 Home and Colonial paid a similar dividend as in the previous year. The number of stores continued to increase. The stores were typically located close to those of its larger rival, Lipton's Stores. One of the factors in their success was said to be the payment of the managers partly by the results achieved[1]

1924 Home and Colonial bought the share capital of Maypole Dairies of Wolverhampton from the Watson family.

Between 1924 and 1931, several store chains, including Liptons, merged with Home & Colonial to form a company with over 3,000 branches.

1929 Home & Colonial formed a subsidiary, Allied Suppliers, to act as a buyer on behalf of the whole group.[2] It acquired the tea blending and packing interests of Home and Colonial Stores, Lipton, Maypole Dairy Co, Meadow Dairy Co and Pearks Dairies and would carry on business as warehousemen and provision merchants[3]

1930 Allied Stores was registered to acquire Home and Colonial Stores, Meadow Dairy Co, Maypole Dairy Co, Pearks Dairies and the International Tea Company's Stores and also shares of Lipton Ltd[4] but the merger fell through

1931 Home and Colonial acquired Lipton[5]

1954 Acquired Galbraith's Stores of Paisley

By 1955 the company was ranked 27th largest in UK.

1960 reflecting the end of the British Empire, the group renamed itself as Allied Suppliers with the shop retaining the Home and Colonial Stores name. There were 15 retail companies in the group including 4 in Scotland which were trading particularly well - Andrew Cochrane, A. Massey and Sons, R. and J. Templeton, Galbraith's. Acquired Vye and Son of Ramsgate. The sausage business, Richmond Sausage Co, was the 2nd largest in the UK. Self service operation had been introduced into 422 of the British shops[6].

1972 Allied Suppliers was acquired by Cavenham Foods.

Melia's Grocers and Tea Dealers, another popular grocery chain at the time, was forced to amalgamate with the Home and Colonial company due to competition from larger national supermarkets.

1979 the business purchased the South East-based supermarket chain Cater Brothers from Debenhams and converted the stores into their Prestos brand.

1982 Allied was acquired by James Gulliver's Argyll Foods

1987 Argyll merged with Safeway UK.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jan 31, 1913
  2. The Times , Mar 08, 1930
  3. The Times (London, England), Saturday, Dec 21, 1929
  4. The Times, Jul 12, 1930
  5. The Times, Mar 21, 1931
  6. The Times, May 11, 1960