Wednesday 21 February 2018

Fashion chain Hobbs bought by South African firm

The deal saw private equity owner 3i offload the business for an undisclosed sum, although a price tag of £80 million has been mooted.

Retail Stock
Retail Stock

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Hobbs has become the latest British retailer to fall into South African hands after it was acquired by The Foschini Group.

The deal saw private equity owner 3i offload the fashion company for an undisclosed sum, although a price tag of £80 million has been mooted.

Hobbs, a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, has 140 outlets globally, including a concession in Bloomingdales, and booked revenues of £120 million last year.

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Royal visit to Norfolk

Foschini, which also owns Phase Eight and Whistles in the UK, said it will look to enhance Hobbs’ online presence.

Foschini chief executive Ben Barnett said: “Hobbs is a strong British brand with rich design heritage. (Hobbs chief executive) Meg Lustman and her team have successfully repositioned and reinvigorated the brand, offering an excellent platform for further growth.

“We share their ambitions, not only in terms of maximising the success of their well-established UK presence, but also in their strategic approach towards leveraging the international appeal of the brand, via their physical store portfolio, carefully aligned concession partners and evolving e-commerce proposition.”

It is the latest in a long line of British retailers to get new owners from South Africa.

Struggling fashion chain New Look is owned by investment group Brait, while Steinhoff is the parent firm of Harveys and Bensons For Beds.

But the deal comes at a difficult time for the high street, with retailers across the board struggling with rising costs and falling consumer confidence as Brexit-fuelled inflation hits the sector hard.

On Tuesday new data from the British Retail Consortium showed that growth in non-food sales hit a record low in October ahead of the critical Christmas trading season.

Press Association

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