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Gio-Goi looks for backer to fuel growth

Streetwear brand Gio-Goi is courting private equity firms to take a stake in the business to help support massive international expansion plans.

Gio-Goi co-owner David Douglas, who bought a stake in the brand from founders the Donnelly brothers in 2005, said the company had received approaches from potential backers such as Lloyds Development Capital, Isis Private Equity Partners and Arev.

Douglas, who made his name as founder of USC, told Drapers that Gio-Goi was seeking to sell a minority stake and that the brand had been valued at in excess of £25 million.

He said the business was on track to more than double its profits to £4m this year. “We have done more sales in the first five weeks of the year than in the whole of last year. Last year’s profit was more than £2m and we’re on track to more than double that this year. We’ll do £20m sales standing on our heads. Investors are impressed with the management and the business plan,” he said.

Douglas added that Gio-Goi, which won the Young Fashion Brand of the Year at The Drapers Awards last November, was seeking finance to help cope with the massive growth it had experienced in the past 12 months. He said the cash would help support the brand’s huge increase in orders since entering the Spanish, German, Benelux and Scandinavian territories.

Gio-Goi is also entering the Portuguese, Greek and Canadian markets, and has recently signed a sunglasses licence and is launching its first footwear range in October. It has more than 200 stockists in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Douglas said: “We want to be a key denim supplier in the European market and plan to add 10 to 15 people this year to help us do that. The financing would also help drive our shop-in-shop concept and marketing.”

He added: “We are selling through really well at retail and performing very well in Europe. The downturn has played into our hands because retailers are putting more money into brands that are selling strongly.”

Douglas added: “This is about investment in the next stage of growth and us becoming a multinational firm, but we’ll make sure it is right for the business, our suppliers and customers.”

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