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Original Text (Annotation: EAW011838 / 2032989)

' Bobby & Co. was a provincial department store group based mainly in seaside towns on the south coast of England. The business operated from 1887 until 1972. Frederick Bobby retired from the business in 1927, selling his shares to a recently formed retail conglomerate, the Drapery Trust. The Bobby & Co. group was run as a separate entity within the trust, chaired by Frederick Bobby's son. The company was funded to further expand, incorporating the Bristol department store of John Cordeux & Son (renamed Bobby & Co.) in 1928. The Margate store was refurbished in 1937. The Debenhams group had emerged from the Drapery Trust by the 1950s. By this time the Bobby & Co. subsidiary had expanded to include Dusts of Tunbridge Wells, Handleys of Southsea, Haymans of Totnes, Hills of Hove, Hubbards of Worthing, Simes of Worcester, Taylors of Bristol and Wellsteeds of Reading. In the early 1970s the decision was taken by the Debenhams board to rationalise the entire group and bring the majority of their department stores under the Debenhams brand. The stores in Margate and Cliftonville were closed in 1972, while all other stores trading under the Bobby's name were rebranded as Debenhams. '