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Hillards plc
Company typePublic
Founded1885; 139 years ago (1885)
FounderJohn Wesley Hillard
Defunct1987; 37 years ago (1987)
FateAcquired and merged into Tesco
HeadquartersCleckheaton, West Yorkshire
Key people
Peter Hartley (Executive Chairman)

Hillards plc was a small supermarket chain from the North of England, bought out in a hostile takeover by Tesco in May 1987.


Hillards in Ilkley in 1983.

The company was founded by John Wesley Hillard in 1885, in the West Yorkshire town of Cleckheaton.[1] The first shop was opened in Lion Chambers there, and shortly after 1900, there were twenty shops operating as Lion Stores.[1] By 1951, there were over seventy stores, and by 1968, it had warehouse size stores in Wakefield, Lincoln and York.[1]

In 1970, the trade name Lion Stores was dropped in favour of Hillards and in 1972, the company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange.[1] Peter Hartley, a grandson of the founder, became executive chairman in 1983 and in May 1987, following a hostile bid, the business was acquired by Tesco for £220m.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Hillards Charitable Trust". Archived from the original on 2 January 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2006.
  2. ^ Clark, Tim (15 April 2008). "A history of Tesco: The rise of Britain's biggest supermarket". London: Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 13 February 2009.
  3. ^ "TESCO profits are estimated to have risen". The Guardian p. 25. 17 March 1987.
  4. ^ "THE TESCO camp in the takeover battle for Hillards". The Guardian p. 27. 29 April 1987.

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