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Motosave to become Wilco’s northern arm

Norfolk-based Wilco Motor Spares, part of the Shortis Group, has bought Motosave, the largest independent chain of automotive shops and fitting centres in the north.

The move – for an undisclosed sum – will see the chain become a division of Wilco and renamed Wilco Motosave.

The company is planning a £1m investment and is currently seeking planning permission to extend Motosave’s head office site in Leeds to become a regional head office and distribution centre.

“We are going to run it as a northern division of our operation. They have some superb sites and tremendous potential,” says Wilco chairman, Kevin Shortis. “We have a much bigger product range than they do and we felt by putting that in we could improve their sales and profitability.” The deal was struck after Motosave owner Terry Smith, who is now retiring, approached the Shortis Group about the possibility of acquisition. “We chose Wilco because of the similarity of their business and attitudes to our own. I’m happy in the knowledge that Motosave will continue in safe hands,” says Smith.

Founded by Kevin Shortis, Wilco has 18 fast-fit and retail branches and nine retail-only outlets across East Anglia and the East Midlands and had a turnover of £25m last year. “We have been sitting on cash for a while, looking for potential sites, so when we were approached by Terry we knew that if we could reach a deal it would be good for both businesses,” says Shortis.

The acquisition will see the company take on Motosave’s 24 workshops and 23 shops in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. The company employs 190 staff and had a turnover of £8.5m in 2003.

All staff currently in the business will be retained.

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