Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire-based convenience store chain Houghton Trading, run by brothers Kishor and Pat Patel, has been part-acquired by a major Eastern European retail operator, which has set up in the UK as Lenus Trading.

As a result of the deal, the company’s two Nisa-branded c-stores and the community post office in Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, and the Nisa store in Toddington, Bedfordshire, will transfer to the new investors, with the stores at Elstree, Stevenage and Hemel Hempstead remaining under control of the Patel family. All stores will continue to be supplied by Nisa and trade as part of the Nisa Local symbol group, with managers and staff remaining in their current roles.

Contracts have been exchanged, and the deal is expected to complete in mid-May. Lenus Trading’s parent company operates over 1,600 stores – including c-stores, chemists, supermarkets and shopping centres – in the Baltic states, Poland, Bulgaria and Spain, with a total turnover of E3.5bn. Houghton Trading is its first acquisition in the UK.

Kishor told C-Store that the time was right to accept the offer from an overseas operator with the right pedigree and scale to develop the business and staff further. In addition, the purchase would allow him to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities outside of retail, including online, property and consultancy, while Pat manages the retail arm of the business.

He said: “The decision to sell these stores was not easy, particularly as we have traded in the area since 1985. Now that our children have grown up and moved into different fields we’ve been prompted to look at the future family succession for the business, and we have ambitious plans to diversify.”