Booths sale set to end 170 years of family ownership

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Booths

Upmarket grocery retailer Booths has reportedly put itself up for sale, potentially ending 170 years of family ownership.

According to The Times, the northern English retailer has drafted in advisors from Rothschild to consider takeover bids, thought to have given an asking price of between £130 and £150 million.

Often considered the “Waitrose of the North”, the chain operates from 28 stores across Lancashire, Cumbria, Yorkshire and Cheshire.

The eponymous Booth family have owned and run the chain for five generations and still hold 96 per cent of the company, with the remaining four owned by staff.

The sale comes during a turbulent year for Booths, when its 22-year chief executive Chris Dee stepped down in May before undergoing a financial review for allegedly breaching its loan terms.

In 2016 the retailer’s profits dropped from £1.1 million to a loss of £6.3 million, hindered by a drawn-out recovery from flood damage at a number of its stores in 2015.

“Booths has been retailing for over 170 years and it remains a very strong, resilient and well-loved brand,” a spokeswoman said.

“One of our strengths has been our ability to adapt to changing market conditions.”

In October Booths struck a deal with AmazonFresh, the online retail behemoth’s grocery delivery arm.

This is set to make Booths’ products available to the south of England for the first time in its history.

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