The Hampshire-based Home Hardware group RJ Winnicott and Parkfield Retail has boosted its retail presence to seven with the acquisition of the small West Sussex chain Austen’s Home Hardware.
Added to the group’s four existing hardware stores in Alton, Emsworth, Romsey and Rowlands Castle are the Petworth, Billingshurst and Midhurst branches of Austen’s Home Hardware, the sale of which was driven by the owner’s imminent retirement.
Because of Austen’s strong identity in West Sussex (the Petworth store will be celebrating its 200th anniversary next year) the group will retain its name at all three branches.
In a joint statement, group managing directors Adrian Winnicott and David Wagg described Austen’s as providing “the ideal opportunity. It offered a very similar business to our own, with excellent staff and customer loyalty, one big additional benefit being the close relationship shared by both companies in purchasing stock from Home Hardware.”
Meanwhile, Austen’s owner Philip Neve commented: “I’m delighted the business has been bought by a family-run business with like-minded ideas. I’ve been in the hardware business for 44 years – all my working life – and now that I’m approaching the retirement age, I was keen to secure continuity for my 33 full and part-time staff.”
Martin Elliott, managing director of Home Hardware Southwest, said that Neve had been a loyal member of Home Hardware for many years and wished him and his wife a happy, healthy retirement.