Britches of Georgetowne has been purchased by a specialty retailing firm, CML Group, whose subsidiaries include Carroll Reed Ski Shops, Sierra Designs and Boston Whaler Inc.

The acquisition by the Boston-based company was completed late last month for an undisclosed sum of money and stock in CML, which is planning to go public in the next few months.

Britches' owners and founders, Rick Hindin and David Pensky, said the merger will not change the way the company runs its 19 stores, including its Great Outdoor stores and its new women's apparel shop.

"Under our agreement, CML has no desire, intention, and most importantly, no right to make any decision relating to running our company," Hindin said yesterday.

"We will continue to run Britches as we always have," he added, noting that Britches operations will be completely independent, as is the customer with all of CML's other subsidiaries.

"We were not for sale until this particular company came along," Pensky said. But, he said, the deal became attractive with the guarantee of complete autonomy and the promise of new capital to aid Britches in its ambitious expansion plans.

"We would like to double our size in the next five years," Hindin said, strengthening the company's women's wear market here and expanding its stores into other East Coast cities and eventually westward.

To finance this expansion, Britches had been considering going public this year. But, Pensky notes, with CML planning to go public within the next few months, the acquisition achieves this goal.

CML was founded in 1969 by Charles M. Leighton, who is the company's chairman and chief executive officer. Leighton said CML became interested in Britches through its Sierra division, which manufactures clothing and outdoor equipment and whose lines are carried by Britches.

Not only were Sierra's officials impressed with the way Britches was run, but they also noted that its market was the same as that of CML's subsidiaires, Leighton said. "We gear ourselves to the active person 35-45 years old, with a higher income than most people, and very involved in many activities."

CML's Boston Whaler subsidiary manufactures fiberglass boats, while Carroll Reed Ski Shops market women's sportswear. Among other CML subsidiaries are The Outdoorsman, which specializes in sporting goods; Gokeys, which manufactures and sells hunting equipment and clothes; Sturbridge Yankee Workshop Inc., which markets early American crafts, and Ericson Yachts Inc., which makes sailboats.