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Boohoo, PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal to remain 'separate'

Boohoo is striving to keep the identities of its three brands separate so as not to confuse customers, its joint chief executive Carol Kane has told Drapers.

The Manchester-based etailer bought PrettyLittleThing – which was founded by Umar Kamani, the son of Kane’s co-chief executive, Mahmud Kamani – in December 2016 for £3.3m.

In February 2017, the group then completed a deal to buy the intellectual property rights and customer databases for US etailer Nasty Gal for $20m (£16m).

“We have three creative teams, three buying teams. They all have their own designers and marketing so we keep the labels all very separate,” said Kane.

“The only thing that’s combined is the back end, warehousing and customer service. We don’t want to pull resources from any of the brands. The customer doesn’t know they are all under our umbrella – like they don’t know that Pull & Bear and Zara are both owned by Inditex.”

She added that there is a clear difference in the brands’ target customers: “Boohoo is for a younger shopper. Nasty Gal is a bit older, vintage inspired and more edgy. PrettyLittleThing is full on dressing up and sassy,” she explained.

Boohoo had Nasty Gal back up and running within two weeks of acquiring it, she said. It started with 400 styles, produced in the UK.

Now eight weeks in, there are 1,200 pieces online and Kane said the company is beginning to test the appetite of UK shoppers for the label.

“It largely has a US following but we’re testing the market here now. There are already some early fans here. We have picked it back up in the US and we’re trying to get it back to its former glory there. We’ll be taking it into the UK step by step over the Next 12 months.”

Boohoo has divided the Nasty Gal brand team between the UK and LA to help preserve the authenticity of the brand. Operationally Nasty Gal will benefit from removing costly import duties and long shipping times from when the brand was based in the US.

Last month, Boohoo reported that its group profits doubled for the full year to 28 February 2017. Operating profit rose 101% to £30.3m from £15m the previous year.

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