South African retail billionaire to launch stores on UK high street

 
Kasmira Jefford
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SOUTH African retail magnate Christo Wiese is poised to make a move on the UK high street by opening a new discount fashion chain led by former Asda boss Andy Bond.

Pepkor UK, a vehicle named after Weise’s holding company, was set up on Companies House earlier this year. Former Asda chief executive Andy Bond and his business partner Mark Elliott, an ex-Bain consultant, have been appointed to run the business.

The company is understood to be planning to open a clothing chain targeting mothers and children by July next year.

The plans have been codenamed Project 50, because of the aim to open 50 stores within two months of the business launching. Savills has been hired to look for stores.

Wiese is not a stranger to the UK retail industry, having previously owned Brown & Jackson, the Leeds-based retailer behind budget names such as Poundstretcher.

In November he was reported to be one of several suitors interested in making an offer for Sir Philip Green’s BHS department store chain.