Adding convenience to their first forecourt – still trading in Brandlesholme Road, Bury – was the cornerstone for success for the Issa brothers, cleared this week to buy Asda in a £6.8bn deal.
The mega-deal marks a big moment for Britain’s retail community, who look up to Mohsin and Zuber Issa as heroes. Blackburn’s billionaire brothers remain neighbourhood retailers at heart, actively supporting their local community through the Issa Foundation. It’s the stuff retail dreams are made of. And at C-Talk we celebrate it.
CMA, the competition regulator says the brothers’ EG Group and their backers TDR Capital can now go ahead and take over Asda as first planned in October. The green light follows the Issas’ offer to sell 27 petrol stations. It’s part of a divestment deal to allay competition concerns.
The Issas must now find a buyer, or buyers, for the forecourts concerned. And the CMA must approve that deal. But the CMA has lifted the Interim Enforcement Order. So the Asda proposal can move forward.
Mohsin and Zuber Issa started out in their dad’s garage in Blackburn, bought after he quit his job in a Blackburn mill. The brothers helped out, selling petrol and refreshments. Then they went out on their own. First they rented a petrol station. Then in 2001 they bought a derelict forecourt in Brandlesholme Road, Bury. It was the start of Euro Garages, the basis of EG Group. And it’s still trading.
Crucially, the brothers didn’t stick to selling petrol. They made their fortune by bringing convenience to forecourts. They saw Brandlesholme Road’s potential and added a newsagent and a grocer. From there they rolled out the format across Lancashire, taking over tired forecourts and putting in the model that worked so well in Bury.
Today EG Group has sites from the UK to the US and Australia, and employs 44,000 people. They tie up with big brands like Spar and Subway and run outlets for Greggs, Starbucks and KFC. But the Issa brothers are still running the show. And 20 years on, the Bury forecourt where the story started is still there, still owned by the EG Group.
Where will YOUR retail road take you? Feel inspired!
Story contributed by guest reporter Charles Smith