Footwear licensee Fresh Footwear is believed to be close to signing a UK distribution deal for the Patrick Cox brand, in the same week that premium men’s footwear brand Oliver Sweeney (pictured) was rescued from administration.
Sources close to Fresh Footwear, which has the licence for Firetrap footwear and distributes Blowfish, said the firm was close to finalising a distribution deal with French footwear firm Groupe Royer, the worldwide rights holder for Patrick Cox, which ran into difficulty last year.
Meanwhile, investment firm Amery Capital - which was founded by former Marks & Spencer director Maurice Helfgott - is searching for a managing director of Oliver Sweeney, which it rescued in partnership with Tim Cooper, the co-founder of footwear supply firm OPS, this week.
Helfgott said Oliver Sweeney, which now trades via newly formed company McFL Trading, would honour all existing wholesale orders. The brand has about 30 stockists worldwide. It will still operate its stores in London’s Bond Street and the City and its shop in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds. The transactional website www.oliversweeney.com will also continue to trade.
Helfgott said the rescue deal - a pre-pack administration from PricewaterhouseCoopers - saved more than 20 jobs and he planned to build the brand via wholesale and retail.
Oliver Sweeney shareholders
Founded in 2004 by Maurice Helfgott. It also has stakes in womenswear brands Long Tall Sally and Kookaï. Amery Capital is backed by the Bennett Brothers, founders of retailer Oasis.
Cooper started his career in the footwear industry in 1982. He rose to managing director of supply group Lambert Howarth in 1993 before leaving and founding OPS, which supplies footwear to retailers such as Marks & Spencer. OPS has annual sales of £23 million.
Sweeney will continue to design for the brand and has a small shareholding in the new firm, but is not a director.