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Gresham snaps up Hotter stake

Gresham Private Equity has taken a minority stake in British-made footwear brand Hotter Comfort Concept.
Hotter plans to double turnover from £38 million in the next four years by expanding its men’s and women’s ranges following the £21 million cash injection. It will also strengthen its management team, open a new manufacturing plant and invest in new IT systems, as well as developing its export markets and retail outlets.

Hotter was founded in 1958 by managing director Stewart Houlgrave’s father Thomas. The company has traded as Hotter Comfort Concept since the late 1990s. It manufactures 30,000 pairs of shoes each week at its Lancashire headquarters and is one of the few remaining UK footwear manufacturers.

The brand, which targets the over 50s, has 300 independent accounts in the UK and shops in Chester, Bournemouth, Southport in Merseyside and Gretna in Scotland. It generates more than 70% of sales via mail order catalogues and its website.

Houlgrave said: “By focusing on our brand values we have established a loyal customer base, but we recognise there is potential to develop the business further. Our strategy is to expand our ranges for men and women in line with the lifestyle needs of the over-50s market.”

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