International Tea Co. Stores
The business was founded in 1878 by Hudson Kearly (later Viscount Devonport) and Gilbert Augustus Tonge as the International Tea Co., with the objective of selling tea direct to consumers rather than through wholesalers.
Their main blenders were Ridgways.
International Tea Co. Stores fell out of the FT30 index in 1947 to conform with market developments at the time.
Demise of the business
The company was subsequently rebranded International Stores and was acquired by BAT Industries in 1972. After acquiring the large foot print Mac Food Centres from Unilever's closure of Mac Fisheries, in 1984 it was sold on to The Dee Corporation. This became Gateway Corporation in 1988, and then Somerfield in 1994.