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Sears plc was a large British-based conglomerate. The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
1891 The business was founded by John and William Sears in 1891 and initially traded as bootmakers under the product name of Trueform.
1953 J Sears and Co (True-Form Boot Co) was acquired by Charles Clore. The business was entirely dependent on the footwear trade for its profits.
1955 Acquired the Phillips Brothers Character Shoes footwear business
1955 Acquired the whole of the outstanding shares in Bentley Engineering Group; other companies in the group concerned with manufacturing knitting machines were Wildt Mellor Bromley and Cotton. The Furness Group had substantial business but was the smallest source of profits in Sears
1958 Amongst the "Other industries" part of the group were Shaw and McInnes; acquired Peter Johnston and Co (South Shields) Ltd, fabricators; also owned Alexander Findlay, structural steelworks producer 
1962 Acquired Saxone, Lilley and Skinner, another shoe shop chain through British Shoe Corporation.
1965 Sears decided to invest in department stores, acquiring Lewis's Investment Trust which itself controlled Selfridges.
1966 Selfridges launched the Miss Selfridge department, which subsequently expanded to a store chain in its own right.
1967 Sears had disposed of its shipbuilding activities.
1971 The company diversified again buying William Hill, a chain of bookmakers.
1980 The company bought Wallis
1985 Acquired Foster Brothers Clothing Co, which owned Adams Childrenswear
1985 renamed Sears plc.
1992 Acquired Richard Shops.
The company was FTSE 100 listed and had the following brands:
Wallis, Warehouse, Miss Selfridge, Adams Childrenswear, Shoe Express, Shoe City, Saxone, Dolcis, Cable & Co, The Outfit, Lilley & Skinner, Freemans Catalogue Store, Selfridges, The Selfridges Hotel, part ownership of The St Enoch's Shopping Centre in Glasgow, 3,000 retail shops being mostly leasehold with a few freehold jewels such as 190 Oxford Street and 330 Oxford Street known as the Top Shop flagship store.
1996 Sears sold FHM, Manfield, True Form, Saxone and Curtess to entrepreneur Stephen Hinchliffe and his business Facia. The remaining parts of British Shoe Corporation were sold by 1998, at an accounting loss of £150 million.
1999 Sears plc was acquired by January Investments on behalf of Philip Green in January. The womenswear business (comprising Warehouse, Richards, Wallis and Miss Selfridge) was subsequently transferred to Arcadia Group.
Philip Green later purchased the Arcadia Group, regaining control of Wallis and Miss Selfridge alongside Arcadia's other brands (Arcadia having closed Richards, and sold Warehouse to Rubicon Retail).