Aurora Fashions is to spin off Karen Millen as an independent company.
Aurora said today it will continue to house Oasis, Warehouse and Coast, but that it would launch Karen Millen, the premium womenswear chain, as a separate entity because its global expansion plans “mean its funding requirements are different to the rest of the group”.
Aurora chairman Derek Lovelock will remain in his current position but will also become executive chairman of Karen Millen, working closely with its joint managing directors Gemma Metheringham and Steve Price.
Richard Glanville and Mike Shearwood will continue to hold a stake in Karen Millen but will not be involved in the day to day running.
Lovelock said: “Karen Millen is one of the great success stories of British fashion retailing.
“Our track record is testament to the brand’s tremendous strengths, not least our signature international style and the passion for design and attention to detail that our customers love. Independence will give us the platform to accelerate our international expansion and to focus on the next stage of the Karen Millen journey.
“Our success, scale and ambitious growth plans mean that this is the next logical step.”
Karen Millen operates in 40 countries around the world, with global retail sales of around £250m and over 1,800 employees.
Metheringham and Price said: “We have benefitted enormously from our position within the Aurora group, during which time Karen Millen has trebled in size and has been transformed from a small UK retailer to a truly global brand with circa 60 per cent of our sales from overseas.
“We have bold plans for our newly independent business, including opening flagship stores in Paris, Sydney, St Petersburg and Berlin this spring.”
Aurora chief executive Mike Shearwood added: “This is the continuation of Aurora’s strategy to drive shareholder value by ensuring our brands are positioned for further growth.
“This new structure is appropriate to meet the demands of both groups going forward. Coast, Oasis and Warehouse will focus on driving market share through meeting our customers’ demands across all channels both in the UK and internationally.”