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New owners: the fashion companies that changed hands in 2018

In a turbulent year for retail, the buying and selling of major players from the high street to the high end has pervaded. Here is Drapers’ run-down of some of the companies entering 2019 under fresh ownership.

House of Fraser

Mike Ashley promised to turn the ailing department store into the “Harrods of the high street” when he acquired the company in a pre-pack administration deal in August. The Sports Direct owner bought the business for £90m.

In October, the senior management staff were axed by Ashley and several more head office roles were said to be under review at the end of November.

Negotiations with landlords are ongoing. So far terms have been agreed to save around 20 stores but at least 8 have already closed or are scheduled to in early 2019.

Many suppliers, including Mulberry and Berwin & Berwin, were hit by the fallout.

Coast autumn 18

Coast autumn 18


The occasionwear retailer was rescued from administration by its sister brand Karen Millen in October.

Around 300 jobs were thought to be lost as it closed 24 standalone stores and international concessions. The brand’s UK concessions, franchise stores and online shop have continued to operate under its new owner.

Jones Bootmaker

The shoe retailer entered administration again this year, having been bought out by private equity firm Endless in March 2017, and was subsequently sold to fellow footwear business Pavers.

The pre-pack deal was agreed in February and included 42 of the 47 Jones Bootmaker stores, its website and the brand. The deal saved 389 jobs, but there were redundancies at the company’s headquarters and five stores that were not part of the deal.

A new Jones Bootmaker store is due to open in Covent Garden.



The Italian designer label was acquired by Michael Kors Holdings for $2.12bn (£1.61bn) in September.

The holding company then changed its name to Capri Holdings.

Versace’s new American owner outlined its intentions to increase the brand’s revenue to $2bn (£1.52bn) and grow its store portfolio from around 200 to 300.

Calvetron Brands

Calvetron Brands, made up of the Jacques Vert, Eastex, Dash and Precis brands, was brought into Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woollen Mill portfolio in August.

The group went into administration in May for the second time in a year and almost 1,000 employees were made redundant as concessions were closed while they struggled to find a buyer.

The labels previously under Calvetron Brands are expected to make an appearance in the Days Department Stores which sells brands under the Edinburgh Woollen Mill umbrella including Jaeger, Austin Reed, Jane Norman and Peacocks.

Jack Wolfskin

US-based Callaway Golf Company is expected to close a deal to buy Jack Wolfskin for €418m (£372m) in early 2019.

The sale of the German outdoor retailer was announced at the end of November.

Jack Wolfskin announced sales of €334m (£297m) and increased its adjusted EBITDA by almost one-fifth to €42.1m (£37.5m) in its most recent financial year.

Henri lloyd

Henri Lloyd

Nautical brand Henri Lloyd went into administration in June, resulting in 128 job losses, before being salvaged by Aligro UK, a subsidiary of Swedish Aligro Group.

The jobs of 44 employees were rescued by the deal.

Henri Lloyd is now based in Gothenburg and Magnus Liljeblad, former chief executive of Swedish sportswear brand Sportsmanship has been appointed CEO.

The brand will be launching kidswear in spring 19, and a premium offering focusing on quality and its sailing heritage from autumn 19. A new website is also set to launch next year.

La perla 1

 La Perla

La Perla

The upmarket lingerie brand was sold to global investment group Sapinda in February after a previous deal to sell to Fosun International fell through.

The details of the deal were not disclosed.

In August, Sapinda appointed former CEO Asia Pacific for Burberry, Pascal Perrier, as chief executive to oversee their plans to turn the brand into a leading luxury powerhouse.


Chinese conglomerate Fosun Industrial Holdings acquired a 50.9% controlling stake in Wolford for €33m in March.

In addition, the group contributed a €22m fresh capital increase to support the brand as it grows its online business and redesigns its market appearance. It also plans to expand in Asia with the help of Fosun.

In July, the Austrian lingerie brand announced it has reduced losses by a third after restructuring.

Yoox Net-a-Porter

In a power move, Richemont made a public tender offer to buy the remaining shares it did not own in Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) for €38 (£33.50) per share.

The acquisition was completed in May.

The Swiss luxury group added the online retailer to its existing portfolio which includes Cartier, Chloé and Alfred Dunhill.


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