Young fashion brands have hailed the return of David Douglas and Angus Morrison to USC, the branded young fashion chain they founded in 1989, as a clear sign the business will be restored to its former glory.
Douglas has been made strategic buying and merchandise director and Morrison has rejoined as a non-executive director. The appointments come just two months after USC went into administration before being immediately bought back by its owner West Coast Capital, the investment firm owned by entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter.
Suppliers welcomed the return of the duo, who are highly respected in the industry, Douglas particularly for his vision and product knowledge and Morrison for his management and retail knowledge.
The manager of one denim supplier to USC said: “[I am confident that] David can bring the direction and drive back to the business.”
A footwear supplier added: “He’ll make sure USC has all the right brands and the right mix - he was always great at that.”
Douglas and Morrison’s return to USC is part of a broader agreement between the duo and West Coast Capital to jointly look at other strategic opportunities in the retail and fashion sectors. West Coast Capital also has a 10% stake in department store chain House of Fraser and owns footwear retailer Office.
Hunter said: “The skills that David and Angus bring will help us excel the rate of growth of USC, the UK’s premium branded fashion retailer. I look forward to working with them.”
A history of USC
- 1989 David Douglas and Angus Morrison found branded menswear chain USC
- 1997 Receives a cash injection from private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital
- 1999 Womenswear added
- 2004 Douglas and Morrison sell the 40-store chain to West Coast Capital for about £45 million and leave the business
- 2006 USC records a pre-tax loss of £8.7m
- 2007 Pre-tax loss of £9m
- 2008 About 15 stores are closed following a pre-pack administration of USC. Owner West Coast Capital immediately buys back the rest of the chain
- 2009 Douglas and Morrison return to lead a turnaround of the business