Lewis Group has announced the acquisition of United Furniture Outlets (UFO), a cash retailer of luxury household furniture to the higher income market, for R320 million. UFO was established in 2004 and has a retail footprint of 30 stores. More than half the outlets are located in Gauteng, including its flagship 5 000 m² mega-store in Marlboro, Sandton.
Lewis Group chief executive officer, Johan Enslin, said the acquisition aligns with the group’s strategy of gaining access to higher income customers and will also allow for improved economies of scale. UFO is one of the larger independent furniture retailers in the country and offers a wide range of local and imported household furniture including lounge, bedroom and dining room ranges. Enslin said UFO will enable the group to diversify and increase its cash-to-credit sales mix by penetrating a new market segment through a wider, more exclusive product range. “We believe the UFO brand and business model is scalable and offers an opportunity to extend the store footprint across South Africa and into the neighbouring Southern African countries where Lewis currently trades.” “The business has an efficient supply chain, good growth prospects and will benefit from our group’s buying power,” said Enslin.
The acquisition is subject to standard regulatory and competition approvals, and the purchase price will be settled from Lewis Group’s current cash resources.