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The Range reveals plans to move into Germany

The Range website April 2016 725 x 500

RETAIL tycoon Chris Dawson is planning to extend his The Range chain into Germany.

The billionaire Plymothian told a national newspaper he had been studying expansion into the German market for the past 18 months.

He talked about "taking the fight to Germany", home of successful discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl.

"We are intensely looking at a Europe," he reportedly said.

He said his plan to conquer Europe, may not extend to France.

He told the newspaper he would involve avoiding "the troublesome countries, France being one of them".

The former market trader – sometimes known as Plymouth's "Del Boy" after the Only Fools and Horses TV character – also revealed he thinks the UK populace will vote to stay in the EU in June's referendum.

Mr Dawson's Euro expansion plans are not new.

In February 2015 he told Herald Business he wanted to open 1,000 shops in Europe.

He said at that time he was well advanced on plans to extend his The Range chain across Europe.

Mr Dawson also said he plans to add another 30 stores to his constantly-expanding portfolio by Christmas 2016.

He said this will see revenues hit £1billion, up from £700million in 2015.

Mr Dawson last year told Herald Business his goal is to open 30 stores each year.

In February 2015 The Range opened its 100th store – in a former Homebase outlet at Peverell, in Plymouth (he is pictured at the opening with Del Boy lookalike Maurice Canham).

Two months later Mr Dawson leapt 20 places up the Sunday Times Rich List and is now worth £1.65billion.

The founder and owner of The Range became the 57th wealthiest individual in the UK, and the third richest in the South West, according to the national newspaper's figures.

At the same time, his business continued to expand with further stores opening that year taking the total store count close to 130, stretching from Truro to Aberdeen.

Mr Dawson's empire started with one store, in Billacombe Road, in 1989.

Twenty-four years later, he bought the huge Sugar Mill Retail Park, including his first shop, out of administration for a knock-down price.

By then, his chain, renamed The Range after initially being known as CDS (Chris Dawson Superstores), was a huge national player, and Mr Dawson was one of Britain's richest men.

He has also, in 2016, added two new floors to the store in Billacombe Road (above). New space has been created to house a large cafe and an extra 1,125sq m of retail space. The development will add 25 full-time equivalent jobs to the 120 already based at the site.

Source : WIlliam Telford - The Herald 

11 April 2016

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