Cater Brothers

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Cater Brothers was a supermarket chain based in the South East of England, which was later taken over and integrated into Presto chain owned by Allied Suppliers.


Cater Brothers Supermarkets was a natural progression for a family of butchers and greengrocers. Henry Charles Cater (1818-1868) was a pork merchant and latterly a pork Butcher in the East End of London. Three of his four sons went on to become a cheesemonger, a grocer and a provisions merchant.[1]

Henry John Cater, one of Henry Charles's sons, is shown in the 1881 census as being a grocer in Bridge Street, Mile End. It was his five sons who took the business over after his death in 1919, with his son Erastus being appointed chairman of the board. By the start of the Second World War the business had around 30 stores.[1]

In 1956, Leslie Erastus, son of Erastus, had taken over the running of the business and was keen to move the company into the new self-service supermarket business.[1] The first supermarket was opened in Bromley in 1958, with branches being added across the South East at a rate of around one a year. The new chain had stores as far away as Reading and Colchester, all supplied by a depot in Dagenham.

In 1972, Leslie Erastus was killed when a plane, piloted by rival supermarket owner F J Wallis of Wallis Supermarkets, crashed in the French Alps.[1] After his death, the Cater family decided to accept an offer of £7 million for the business from Debenhams, in 1973.

Debenhams integrated the business with their 40 food halls, which were modernised and branded as Cater Food Halls and opened a further two new Cater supermarkets. However the business struggled in the competitive 1970s market, and in 1979, Debenhams sold the business to Allied Suppliers for £9.5 million.[1][2] Allied Suppliers integrated the new stores into their Presto chain and the Cater Brothers brand was no more. The Cater name, however, lives on Chelmsford, with an office block that was built above the store still carrying the Cater House name.[3]


  • Altrincham


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  2. ^ "Debenhams sells Caters supermarkets for £9.5 million - Financial Times p.4 December 1979". Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Offices in central Chelmsford set for flats - p.28 Dec 2013". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  4. ^ "Basildon Town Centre Town Square -". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
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  7. ^ "The Newham Story". Archived from the original on 2011-03-21. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Stories that gripped Croydon - Croydon Advertiser p. 27 Aug 2010". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Cater House Central, Chelmsford - Taylor & Company". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  10. ^ "Lower Edmonton - Edmonton Green Shopping Centre". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Killers - Britain's Deadliest Murderers Tell Their Stories by Kate Kray". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  12. ^ "The Crown House office block and Caters Supermarket - Merton Memories Photographic Archive". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Pictures from the past: 8 historic images of Southend High Street from the Echo archives - Evening Echo p.21 Jan 2015". Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Muhammad Ali's visit to Hertfordshire - Herts Memories". Retrieved 21 April 2015.