Habitat Gets A Dutch Master

Another British relic of the swinging '60s has been sold. On Oct. 26, SIF, a Netherlands company that owns Ikea, the Swedish furniture chain, paid $125 million for the 76 European shops of Habitat, a unit of Storehouse. The deal does not include 19 Conran's Habitat stores in the U.S., still up for sale. The European outlets lost $1.7 million, on sales of $268 million, in the year ended Mar. 30.

Habitat, a retailing breakthrough when designer and entrepreneur Sir Terence Conran founded it in 1964, forever changed the housewares business--with light-hearted, mix-and-match furnishings that any young graduate could afford. In fact, the Conran style paved the way for stores such as Ikea.

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