Northern Irish young fashion independent Chocolate will rebrand as a luxury kidswear retailer following its sale to Dubai-based clothing manufacturer The Griffin Corporation.
The Chocolate store in Derry, which sells labels including Lyle & Scott, Farah and Little Mistress, closed at the end of this week. The website will continue to trade in its current form until the stock is cleared.
Dave Conaghan, who founded the Drapers Independents Award-winning business in 2007, sold it to property and investment company The Griffin Corporation, which is owned and run by Ray Griffin, last week. Conaghan would not disclose the financial details.
The new owner will launch a Chocolate-branded website featuring 20 to 30 kidswear labels on the same level as Gucci, Armani and Stone Island in October or November.
A 3,000 sq ft Chocolate kidswear store with a VIP area will open in Solihull in January, and further openings are planned in the medium term across the UK.
Griffin used to be based in the UK as a supplier of men’s shirts and ties to high street retailers, including Marks & Spencer.
He sold his manufacturing business 15 years ago and moved to Dubai to set up The Griffin Corporation, but Drapers understands he wants to get back into fashion. Griffin also has an office in Essex and business interests in the Solihull area.
Conaghan will stay on as managing director of Chocolate and will be joined by an as yet unnamed senior buyer, sales and marketing director and ecommerce manager.
He told Drapers: “I started the business eight years ago when I was 25 years old. This will be a new challenge. [The Griffin Corporation] saw the potential to grow the brand into something bigger and felt the name Chocolate worked with kidswear.”