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Hobbs secures £46.5m of funding to accelerate expansion

Mainstream womenswear retailer Hobbs has secured £46.5m of funding to accelerate its brand development and retail expansion plans.

The funding, which has come from Hobbs’ private equity back 3i together with Barclays and Cooperative bank, will allow the company to expand its ranges throughout the UK and build on its exisiting international business.

Today’s announcement marks the completion of Hobbs’ capital raising. In January the retailer announced it had secured £14m of new investment from its private equity backer 3i.

“Hobbs is 30 years old this year and has a rich heritage and relationship with both our longstanding customers and an increasing number of new customers,” said Hobbs chief executive Nicky Dulieu.

“The recent additions to our team and the investment we have now secured provide us with a unique opportunity to realise the full potential of our brands.”

In January, Hobbs appointed Iain MacRitchie to replace retail veteran Tony Campbell as chairman. Campbell had relinquished his stakeholding in the business as part of the restructure, along with a handful of other former directors and their families, including that of former Hobbs chief executive Nick Samuel who died in June 2010.

The retailer also reported sales growth of 12.4% last year and is continuing to build on its success with further growth of 13% in the first 20 weeks of this year.

“Despite the continued difficult trading on the High Street, I am pleased to be able to announce further strong sales growth this year,” said Dulieu. “This has been achieved as a result of our customers’ reaction to the quality, versatility and design led handwriting of our new collections.”

In May Hobbs said it planned to introduce a more contemporary, trend-led sub-brand aimed at the 35-plus customer called Hobbs Unlimited.

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