Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Hobbs ‘primed for sale’ by owner 3i

Private equity firm 3i is reportedly planning to offload Hobbs after more than a decade of ownership.

The premium womenswear retailer carries a price tag of £80m and investment bank NM Rothschild has been approached to handle the sale, The Sunday Times reported.

3i bought Hobbs for £111m in 2004, but by January 2014 the value of its 47% stake in the company had dropped to £21m. Later that year, womenswear veteran Meg Lustman was appointed as chief executive to lead a turnaround.

Lustman has focused Hobbs’ collections on three end uses - workwear, occasionwear and smart casual - while expanding its range of trans-seasonal pieces to better suit unpredictable weather. She has also been expanding the chain internationally, with new concessions in the US and Germany.

Turnover fell 5.7% to £109m in the year to 30 January, but EBITDA rose 18% to £ 7.7m thanks to its strategy to reduce discounting and sell more at full price.

Independent retail analyst Richard Hyman told Drapers: “Hobbs has a top notch CEO and chairman but it’s been finding life very difficult. It faces competition from Jaeger, Jigsaw, L.K Bennet, Phase Eight to a degree, even M&S is bound to be a competitor. Its section of the market has become very crowded.”

He continued: “Hobbs is a sound operator and has strengths in tailoring and a good brand name but it has become very dependent on the promotional drug.”

Hobbs declined to comment on the sale rumours, and 3i did not respond.


Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.