Powerhouse keen to expand

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The Independent Online
Powerhouse, the electrical retail group which was a management buyout from Hanson last year, is likely to hit the acquisition trail soon as it seeks to expand its store portfolio. Glyn Moser, the company's chief executive, also said the company was considering a stock market flotation though there were no immediate plans.

Mr Moser is interested in acquiring some of the Shoe City out-of-town stores from Sears, the struggling retail group. Powerhouse is keen to add to its 36 superstores but says its 83 high street outlets are also performing well. With net cash of pounds 17.2m, the company has the firepower to acquire a whole business rather than just individual sites.

Mr Moser was speaking as Powerhouse reported a pre-tax profit of pounds 1.7m on sales up 8 per cent at pounds 67m for the six months to September. The company had been losing pounds 25m-pounds 30m a year when it was acquired from Hanson in June last year.

Mr Moser said summer sales were boosted by the windfall money. But the company said this money was fast disappearing.

Powerhouse has formed a number of joint ventures for concessions in its stores. It has signed deals with Time Computers and DX Communications as well as trials with Country Kitchens and Jessops Photographics.

The group opened a further four superstores in the six months in Cardiff, Coventry, Dagenham and Southampton. A further three will open in the second half at Tamworth, Cannock and again at Cardiff. A total of pounds 1.7m was spent on new openings in the first half.