Self-styled "Del Boy" businessman is planning a £2bn float of his discount retailer The Range

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The Range has more than 140 UK stores (Source: Jaggery/geograph.org.uk)

Self-made businessman Chris Dawson is aiming to float The Range, the discount retail chain he founded almost 30 years ago, in the second half of 2018.

Dawson has entered into talks with investment bankers with a view to listing The Range, which sells branded furniture and homewares at knock-down prices, according to Sky News.

The chain, which has more than 140 stores across the UK, could be valued at close to £2bn. The business’s holding company made profits of almost £55m in the year to January 2017 and is expected to reach £100m in its most recent accounting year.

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Dawson, who reportedly learnt to read in his late 20s, has previously told interviewers that he has never read a book or written a letter. This image is one he tends to cultivate, as his "DE11 BOY" car numberplate aligns him with the Only Fools and Horses character Derek Trotter.

Discount retailers have had a mixed time of late. Poundland reported record sales over the Christmas period, while rival Poundworld has had to ask its private equity owner for a cash injection after a tricky year.

Meanwhile research has showed the rapid roll-out of low-cost supermarkets could be set to slow down.

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