Darlington law firm Latimer Hinks has played a key role in an acquisition which has seen a well-known North East shoe retail business expand into important retail markets within England and Scotland. The Clinkard Group, has broadened its reach into new regions with the acquisition of 12 stores from Stead Simpson. Following the acquisition the company will operate 34 outlets across the UK. The deal presented a number of challenges for Latimer Hinks. Due to the complex nature of the acquisition and outside influences, the turnaround time from offer to signing contracts was only two weeks. Partners Neil Stevenson and Nick Poole worked tirelessly to ensure that all legalities were completed in time. Established as a family-run business in 1924 by Charles and Eveline Clinkard, Charles Clinkard Fine Footwear has now grown to be the leading independent footwear retailer in the North East and one of the largest independents in the UK. Neil Stevenson, commercial property partner at Latimer Hinks, said: This is an excellent acquisition for The Clinkard Group, which fully complements its existing business and strengthens its position in the market. The deal also gives Clinkards the opportunity to bring its brand strengths to new markets. Nick Poole, partner at Latimer Hinks, said: It is a simple fact of business that sometimes things have to be done more quickly than normal, so you have to be prepared to push through a job like this. What is most pleasing is that it is for such an important client where Latimer Hinks also assists with the familys private affairs so it was imperative that we pulled out all the stops. Charles Clinkard, managing director of The Clinkard Group Limited, said: We are very pleased to be able to bring the 12 Stead Simpson stores into our portfolio. We are an ambitious, forward-thinking organisation and the expansion takes our presence into untapped areas of the country. As a result of this acquisition The Clinkard Group is well-positioned in many of the key markets and can continue its growth strategy from a position of strength. Jonathan Mankin, financial director of The Clinkard Group, added: It is a testament to the firms professionalism and expertise that Latimer Hinks was able to complete this deal within the very short prescribed timescale.