UK lifestyle retailer Crew Clothing is on the cusp of being sold, Drapers understands.
Several industry insiders said an announcement on the sale was expected this week, with sources indicating that the buyer is Michael Shina, who founded US-based wholesale company Exquisite Apparel.
One source indicated that the deal is expected to lead to “some” store closures. Crew Clothing has 80 UK stores, including outlets, according to its website.
A spokesman for Crew Clothing denied reports that the business’s chief executive, Louise Barnes, has stepped down. However, he could not provide further information on the sale.
He said: “We don’t comment on rumour or market speculation.”
Barnes joined Crew Clothing in September 2014. Her previous roles include chairman at Joules and chief executive at FatFace.
In Crew Clothing’s latest set of accounts, filed with Companies House, show that EBITDA slumped by 18.2% to £2.4m in the year to 30 October 2016.
Pre-tax losses at the retailer increased from £2.5m to £2.9m last year following investment in its head office. However, turnover rose by 5.9% to £58.3m.
The retailer’s shareholders include founder Alastair Parker-Swift and private equity firm Livingbridge, with the latter owning 25% of the retail chain.
Crew Clothing was founded in 1993. Exquisite Apparel, which specialises in licensed clothing and loungewear, initially opened in London in 1984 before launching in New York two years later, where it is now headquartered.