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Fred Perry to push Lavenham globally

Fred Perry Holdings is to extend the international arm of Lavenham into new markets following its acquisition of the heritage outerwear brand.

The deal, in which Fred Perry acquired Lavenham outright for an undisclosed amount, was concluded last week. Lavenham managing director Nicky Santomauro will remain in her role and manufacturing will continue at the brand’s base in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Fred Perry managing director John Flynn said the “strategic investment” reflected the British brand’s interest in home-grown manufacturing and the international potential of ‘Made in Britain’ branding.

Lavenham currently exports 75% of its product to overseas markets, including Japan. As a result of the deal it will extend further into Southeast Asia, the US, Russia and Germany.

Flynn said: “We believe we can add experience in brand development and international distribution to what is a very well-run and organised business. Initially the expansion should develop limited distribution through wholesale partners, which are under review at present.

“Lavenham’s key market is Japan and we hope to help with the initial progress it has made in Italy as well as suggesting some retail partners in Southeast Asia and the US.”

Santomauro said Lavenham’s team of 113 employees, all of whom will remain, hoped to benefit from Fred Perry’s “experience and expertise” in international markets. She said: “We have a fairly strong international presence but Fred Perry has seen amazing global growth in recent years and the sale felt like a step up to the next level.”

There is now capacity to increase production by “30% to 50% in the factory” and a Fred Perry- Lavenham eight-piece outerwear collaboration is under way for autumn 14.

The acquisition follows what Lavenham described as a “disappointing downturn in sales” for the year to April 30 in its two biggest markets, Japan and the UK.

Turnover for the UK arm of the business fell from £687,004 in 2012 to £610,383 year on year. Overall, sales for the period increased by 3% to £4.4m.

Lavenham’s 17 stockists in the UK include Harrods, House of Fraser and independent store Number Six.

Wholesale prices range from £49 for a standard Raydon jacket to £117 for a Hengrave bomber jacket, with a mark up of 2.7.

Fred Perry is owned by Japanese retailer Hit Union.

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