John Hargreaves came up with the Matalan concept after discovering American out-of-town retail superstores selling a mixture of homewares and clothing in the 1970s. He opened his first store in Britain in 1985 and his chain had sales of £1,043m in the year to 2007. The Lancashire business spent many years on the stock market, but in 2006 Hargreaves bought out minority shareholders with the backing of Icelandic bank Kaupthing in a deal that valued Matalan at £817m. Under chief executive Alistair McGeorge, Matalan says it is upgrading its stores this year amid fierce competition.
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