Morleys snaps up Camp Hobson to expand to eight stores
160 years of family ownership has come to an end after department store chain Morleys bought Newbury rival Camp Hopson, making it its eighth store.
Although it adopted the Camp Hopson name in 1921, the company can trace its beginning back to 1854 when decorator Joseph Hopson expanded his company and began selling furniture.
Morleys owns seven other independently branded department store across the south of England including Elys in Wimbledon, Pearsons in Enfield and Morleys of Bicester. It plans to spend £3m upgrading its latest store, with the deal pushing group sales above £100m. In the year ended January 2014, Morleys has sales of £90.6m with a pre-tax profit of £7.1m. In the first nine months trading of the current year, group like-for-like sales are 6% higher.
The acquisition of Camp Hopson will push group sales beyond the £100m mark.
'We're delighted that Morleys Group will keep the Camp Hopson name, retain our existing staff and make a substantial new investment in the business. We couldn't have found a better buyer to take these businesses on the next stage of their 90-year journey,' says Jonathan Hopson, Camp Hopson chief executive. 'Camp Hopson always sought to provide the best possible service to the people of Newbury. The department store and furniture store will benefit hugely from being part of a bigger independent department store group given the skills, expertise and buying power they bring.'
'The long-established expertise of both businesses will help to drive the store's success going forward,' says David Hordle, Morleys md.
As well as its, Camp Hopson has a two-storey furniture, flooring and furnishings store opposite the full-line department store.
Some 32 years after Hopson began selling furniture in the town's West Street, Alfred Camp opened Camp's Drapery Bazaar at Northbrook Street (pictured). After Hopson's death in 1899 his two sons Joseph Jnr and Frederic inherited the business. Joseph Jnr's son Paul then met and married Camp's daughter Norah and in 1921 the two businesses merged to form Camp Hopson and take over the Northbrook Street premises.
The Camp Hopson group now also includes Camp Hopson Funeral Directors and Camp Hopson Removals.