File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi, Independent Media

Cape Town - Lewis Group said on Wednesday that it had completed the acquisition of a portfolio of 57 Ellerines and Beares stores in four southern African countries, expanding its store presence outside of South Africa to 120.

The group said in a statement that regulatory and competition approvals had been received for the acquisitions - 21 stores in Namibia, 20 in Botswana, 10 in Lesotho and six in Swaziland - for a total of R250 million.

Lewis Group purchased the Beares brand and 61 stores in South Africa in 2014 after parent company Ellerines Furnishers was placed under business rescue.

The Beares chain has since been expanded to 84 stores in South Africa. Lewis said it was one of the first local retailers to expand into neighbouring southern African countries in the late 1960s.

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Stores outside of South Africa now comprise 15 percent of the group's store base.

Chief executive Johan Enslin said the addition of these Beares stores in southern Africa, which was announced in November 2015, would bring immediate benefits of scale.

He added: “The acquisition of these stores will provide Lewis with access to new segments of the furniture retail market and also expand our existing customer base in each of these countries.

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“Lewis has operated in these four countries for over 50 years so has extensive experience in these markets and a thorough understanding of the trading environments.”