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Aquascutum up for sale

Aquascutum, the British luxury heritage retailer, is understood to be up for sale.

According to The Sunday Times, Hong Kong-based YGM Trading, which has the rights to the Aquascutum brand in Asia, and private equity firm Carlyle Group’s Asian operation are thought to have expressed interest in the retailer.

Rothschild, which Aquascutum boss Harold Tillman appointed a year ago to consider approaches, is understood to be handling the sale.

Jaeger-owner Harold Tillman and former Jaeger chief executive Belinda Earl bought luxury British heritage brand Aquascutum from its Japanese owner Renown in 2009.

It was intended that the combined sales of Jaeger and Aquascutum create a group with turnover in excess of £300m, with Tillman and Earl saying significant synergies could be achieved by running the brands alongside each other. Under the deal YGM Trading, the Hong Kong and Chinese licensee for Aquascutum, acquired the rights for the brand in Asia.

Last November, Aquascutum signed a six-year licensing deal with manufacturing and licensing firm Itierre for continental Europe, Russia and the Middle East. The agreement covers the production and distribution of Aquascutum’s men’s and women’s ready-to-wear.

Aquascutum chairman Harold Tillman said the move was the next step in its international growth. Last year, Aquascutum announced it would open its first overseas standalone stores in Milan and Rome over the next 12 months. Ittierre will take over existing retail partnerships in these regions. Aquascutum has about 200 stockists in continental Europe, as well as one stockist in Lebanon, one in Turkey and two in Russia.

The last set of figures filed at Companies House showed a loss of around £10m on sales of £28m for the year to February 2010.

Aquascutum declined to comment.

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