A YORKSHIRE-based private equity firm has sold Morrisons’ former online baby goods retailer – just 10 weeks after acquiring it.
Endless has sold Kiddicare to online retailer Worldstores for an undisclosed sum. During its brief period under Endless’s ownership, the number of Kiddicare stores was reduced from 11 to just one, and around 700 people were made redundant as the private equity firm returned Kiddicare to its core operations.
In July, Bradford-based Morrisons announced the sale of Kiddicare for £2m to Endless, which is based in Leeds. Britain’s fourth-biggest grocer had bought Kiddicare in 2011 for £70m as it took its first steps toward building a business selling non-food goods over the internet. In 2012, Kiddicare announced plans to open 10 new UK stores, creating up to 700 jobs as part of a growth strategy under Morrisons’ ownership.
However, in March this year, Morrisons said that, following the completion of an agrement with Ocado and the launch of Morrisons.com, Kiddicare no longer had a strategic role within the group. Endless has now completed the closure of the 10 Kiddicare stores around the country and returned the business to its original form; as an online business and a store in Peterborough. Kiddicare now employs around 100 staff.
Worldstores is one of the UK’s biggest online retailers in the home and garden category. It sells 600,000 products from more than 1,600 suppliers across its three main brands: Worldstores.co.uk, Casafina.com and Modern.co.uk. It has 200 staff, is headquartered in Twickenham and was founded by serial entrepreneurs Richard Tucker and Joe Murray.
Darren Forshaw, a partner at Endless, said yesterday: “It was clear to us before our investment that Kiddicare would be an attractive business once it was returned to its core operations and this has proved to be the case.
“The future for Kiddicare, now it is part of the Worldstores stable of brands, is exciting and I look forward to watching its growth and success.”
Joe Murray, joint CEO of Worldstores, said: “Kiddicare is a fantastic strategic fit for us – its customer base is very similar to our core Worldstores demographic.”
Endless was advised by Addleshaw Goddard and Sentio Partners. Worldstores was advised by Taylor Wessing.
A Morrisons spokesman declined to comment on the disposal yesterday.