John Hargreaves came up with the Matalan concept after visiting America in the 1970s and seeing out-of-town retail superstores selling discounted homewares and clothing. Today the company trades from more than 200 out-of-town locations. Following a number of years on the stock exchange, Hargreaves took the Lancashire company private in 2006 in a deal that valued it at £817m. In April this year, a £525m refinancing was secured, with the company completing a £235m share buy-back from the shareholders, Hargreaves and his family. Under chief executive Alistair McGeorge, sales were £1,120m in the year to February 2010.
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