It may be best known as a good place to hire an angle grinder for a few days, but 90% of this company’s business is with trade customers. HSS recently won a five-year, multi-million-pound contract for the provision of equipment to Thames Water, while other clients are in the building, maintenance and refurbishment sectors. In 2007 the company was bought for £310m by Och-Ziff Capital and Archie Norman’s investment vehicle, Aurigo. Sales from its 232 outlets rose to £167.8m in 2010 under chief executive Chris Davies.
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