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Gerry Weber buys Hallhuber and plans to re-enter menswear

Gerry Weber International has agreed to buy fellow German women’s fashion group Hallhuber and is looking to return to the menswear market as part of its growth strategy.

The Dortmund-based mainstream womenswear company has been expanding beyond its domestic market and said it could make further acquisitions to complement its Gerry Weber and Taifun brands, which cater to mid-30s women and older, and its plus-size womenswear brand Samoon .

Gerry Weber has purchased Munich-based Hallhuber from private equity firm Change Capital Partners, which will give it access to a younger womenswear market of mid-20s. Financial details have not been disclosed. David Frink, Weber’s chief financial officer, commented: “The Hallhuber brands are complementary to our existing Gerry Weber brands. They operate a completely vertical business model and they are ready to move into new European markets. Hallhuber is looking at enormous sales and profit growth potential and its options for further development have barely been tapped. Now we have to work together to make the most of these options.”

Ralf Weber, Weber’s chief sales officer, said: “The Gerry Weber Group already has its own retail spaces in almost all European countries. We will team up with Hallhuber as partners in a professional way in order to support them in building their own network of company-managed retail spaces, especially outside Germany. These efforts will benefit from our accumulated expertise and our existing structures.”

Norbert Steinke, CEO of Hallhuber, added: “After exciting five years with Change Capital Partners we look forward to entering a new chapter with Gerry Weber. We are excited by the prospect of entering the next stage of growth.”

Change Capital acquired Hallhuber from Italian fashion company Stefanel in 2009 and doubled its sales and tripled its profits.Hallhuber expects to report 2014 sales of €140m (£109.8m) and EBITDA of €14m (£10.9m). Hallhuber has 219 points of sales across Germany, Austria, Belgium, the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands. It sells via online platforms in Germany, Austria, France, Switzerland and the UK.

Analysts expect Gerry Weber to report 2013/14 sales of €865m (£678.8m) on February 26, according to Thomson Reuters data. Gerry Weber said last month that sales and earnings for the financial year to October 31 are expected to be lower than previously announced due to the mild weather in the final quarter.

Separately Frink told German newspaper Handelsblatt that Gerry Weber International plans to design and produce its own menswear collection if it can identify a suitable brand to acquire.Gerry Weber quit menswear in 2009 to focus on womenswear.


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