WALES: Leekes builders' merchants, with branches in in Tonypandy and department stores in Llantrisant, Cross Hands and Melksham, Wiltshire, has acquired Cole's Home Furnishings stores in the West Midlands.

The deal sees the Welsh retailer acquire the stores in Bilston, near Wolverhampton, Bedworth, near Coventry, and Fenton in Stoke-on-Trent, along with the Cole's delivery fleet, existing stock and order book.

Emma Leeke, commercial director of Leekes, said: "Through this purchase we are able to realise our vision of expanding the Leekes brand into new regions in England.

"Our intention is to build upon Cole's reputation as a retailer of quality furniture by adding kitchen, bathroom, conservatory and glazing departments as well as introducing a wide range of home accessories.

"We will develop each of the three sites to create a department store format and broaden the appeal of what is already a well respected local retailer."

Leekes agreed a funding package with Barclays Bank in 2008 which also provided the additional finance for the acquisition of Cole's.

Leekes was established by James Henry Leeke in the Rhondda in 1897. He started trading as a traditional builders’ merchant selling ironmongery and hardware from the front room of the family home in a small terraced house in Clydach Vale.

The company also owns the Vale Hotel Golf and Spa Resort, and Hensol Castle. Leekes is a member of the Cemco buying group.