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Ben Sherman up for sale

British heritage brand Ben Sherman has been put up for sale by its US owner Oxford Industries.

Oxford Industries, which owns a selection of lifestyle brands, has reportedly hired Financo for the sale process and expects a “timely conclusion”.

Mark Maidment, chief executive of Ben Sherman, told Drapers: “Our parent company Oxford Industries has announced that, having owned Ben Sherman for 10 years, they have started a process to sell the business.”

He continued: “Ben Sherman saw great progress in 2014, reinforcing a unique brand proposition in the menswear market and is on a positive trajectory. Ben Sherman’s strong heritage and positive brand resurgence has laid a good foundation for moving forward with a sale process.

“The Ben Sherman team are focused on running the business well, continuing in our work to build this great brand, and ensuring a smooth transition of ownership. With a history spanning more than 50 years, Ben Sherman is an iconic British brand with an exciting future.”

Financial website MarketWatch said the business had been put on the market as it had a weaker financial performance than some of Oxford Industries’ other labels including Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer.

One menswear source said that while sales might be up at Ben Sherman the business is failing as the product is “heavily discounted”.

“They have made it public to create a bidding war. The product is heavily discounted through their own factory outlets and stock disposal to discounters. No premium retailers in the UK stocks them.”

He added: “An investor needs to allow Ben Sherman to take a position in the market place. It has huge potential with an investor who knows brands on an international basis, for example SearchLight Capital who are rebuilding Hunter at a premium level.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • Totally agree with the last comment. This label has been up and down the market place , draw a line in the sand, take a deep breadth and start again. Export will be its saviour, U.K is too confused where it sits!
    Has it ever made money, I don't think so but plenty of bucks have been spent and earned by ?

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  • Sports Direct anyone ?

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  • Will be very interesting who comes in for Ben Sherman as that will give a clear indication of where the brand could be heading in the market place. Mike Ashley would be an obvious candidate, although the brand currently sits far higher than his current fodder and would the U.S owners want to sell to someone like him anyway? A private equity company would probably be the most likely outcome here.

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  • Would it be shame if Sports Direct did buy the brand, issue BS has is that in it's own head it maybe thinks it sits way above SD but in reality it's pretty tired, one of it's biggest customers is Debenhams, which speaks volumes, perhaps it is time to put it out to grass, after all SD has snapped up brands in the past that thought they were better than they were, Firetrap ! It's way too long in the tooth, forget heritage, it's lost on it's targets audience, Dads, it's not aspirational.
    Good luck to any private equity co, i'm sure they have the fashion knowledge to turn it round, if they needed a hint to where it should be then look no further than Paul Smith/Ted Baker, unfortunately it's way too late for that, easier to start a new brand from scratch and build it.

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  • I wonder what Miles Gray thinks of all this? It just shows how the trade quickly changes. He was the last chief at the company when it was profitable, so anyone thinking of buying the company could do a lot worse and get him involved in some way and use his experience and know how.

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