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Crunch time for Dolcis as Epic exits

The future of footwear chain Dolcis hung in the balance as Drapers went to press, following the shock exit of the retailer’s private equity backer Epic Reconstruction.

Epic, which is understood to be reassessing its entire portfolio of retail interests, has pulled a £1.5 million investment out of the business just a year after it helped entrepreneur John Kinnaird buy the chain for £2.7m from Alexon Group.

As Drapers went to press, Kinnaird was due to kick off talks with an alternative backer in a bid to secure £2m emergency funding. He declined to name the potential new backer, but said the intention was for the new private equity fund to finance Dolcis and help it to acquire a clothing and footwear chain to offer better economies of scale.

Kinnaird said the target acquisition had sales of £50m and a merger would realise £4m of head office cost savings, but he would not be drawn on its identity. However, a source said the long-term future of Dolcis looked shaky if "last ditch" funding talks fell through.

Drapers has also learned that Kinnaird was close to buying Stead & Simpson's Famous Footwear chain in December, but the acquisition collapsed after Epic pulled out of the deal.

Epic was unavailable for comment.

Readers' comments (1)

  • It's a shame because I used to work at Dolcis when I was younger and it is such a good household name like Heinz or something. I hope he manages to get this rescue package together otherwise the whole footwear highstreet is going to just look the same by the end of the year once everyone as gone bust

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