Furnishing retailer Dunelm to buy Kiddicare

Furnishings retailer Dunelm has agreed to buy baby goods specialist Kiddicare in a push to boost its online offering.

The acquisition is part of an £8.5m rescue deal for UK online shopping group Worldstores.

It is the latest twist for Kiddicare, which was bought by supermarket chain Morrisons for £70m in 2011 before being sold for £2m just three years later.

Kiddicare was bought by Worldstores from private equity owners in 2014, where it joined the group’s portfolio of home and furniture websites.

Dunelm, which started on a Leicester market stall in 1979 and now has more than 140 shops, said the deal for Worldstores would more than double the size of its internet operation.

John Browett, chief executive of Dunelm, said the group’s “unique platform for next day delivery and flash sales” would also strengthen Dunelm’s position in UK homeware.”

Worldstores has annual revenue of about £100m and 650 employees, but is expected to make losses of £5m to £10m this year, Dunelm said.

Dunelm expects to acquire it later on Monday in a so-called “pre-pack deal”, which would see Worldstores briefly enter administration.