Harveys and Bensons for Beds owner Steinhoff is to enter the fashion market after agreeing to acquire one of the largest non-food retailers in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Johannesburg based conglomerate has announced a plan to acquire a 92 per cent stake in Pepkor, which runs 12 retail businesses including Pep, the largest retailer in Africa, and Pepco, the number one non-food retailer in Poland.

It will pay R62.8bn, about £3.6bn, to complete the deal, which marks an exit for previous owners Thibault, Brait and Titan. The remainder of the shares will remain in the hands of Pepkor management.

Pepkor has sales of R38.2bn, about £2.2bn, and trades in 16 countries based across Africa and Eastern Europe. It also operates in Australia. Its various retail brands sell inexpensive clothing, footwear, household goods and homewares as well as mobile phones.

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