John Hargreaves came up with the Matalan concept after visiting America in the 1970s and seeing huge, out-of-town retail superstores selling a mixture of homewares and clothing. In 1985, he opened the first Matalan store in Preston. By 1995 there were 50 stores across Britain, and today the company trades from more than 200 locations. The Lancashire business spent many years listed on the stock exchange, but in 2006 Hargreaves bought out minority shareholders with the backing of Iceland’s Kaupthing bank in a deal that valued Matalan at £817m. Under chief executive Alistair McGeorge, sales reached £1,036m in 2009.

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Company details
ActivityValue retailer
Sales £m †1,036
Profit £m †145
Year endMar 09
Principal shareholdersJohn Hargreaves and family (54%), Abacus Trust (22%), Maxine Adams (8%)

If applicable:

* Supplied by company † Annualised figure