In 1876, a grocer named Hudson Ewbanke Kearley established a company at Mitre Square, London E. C., to import tea. In 1878 Kearley & Co. began retailing its own products at a shop in Brentford, west London.
In 1887 the company became known as Kearley & Tonge. By 1890 it had 200 branches around the UK which were known as International Stores.
In 1895 International Tea Company’s Stores was formed for acquiring and extending the wholesale tea, provision and food produce importers of Kearley & Tonge Ltd. including their 200 stores in various parts of the country.
In 1968 the name was changed to International Stores Ltd. which eventually became part of the Somerfield supermarket chain.