David Hewitt, the former managing director of Daks, is preparing a potential bid for Aquascutum as the race to buy the British brand hots up.
Hewitt told Drapers that he had the necessary financial backing in place and that he planned to make an approach to Aquascutum’s Japanese owner Renown, with a view to buying the company.
He declined to name his backer but it is believed he is working with a well known firm with experience in restructuring fashion and retail brands.
Hewitt said that if successful he would conduct a rapid review of the business, including investigating the possible sustainability of the UK manufacturing division.
Hewitt, who was group managing director at Daks between 2002 and 2005 and was also a consultant to Daks between 2007 and 2008, said: “We would take Aquascutum back from its recent luxury position to its classic customer base. We’d expand the wholesales business in the UK and Europe, with maybe some showrooms in key towns and a network of sales agents.”
Hewitt added: “We would not necessarily expand in the US but we would improve the brand’s strength in Japan where it really only has a strong presence in two or three product categories.”
He said: “We would look as positively as possible of ways to keep a manufacturing operation in the UK.”
Chinese manufacturer YGM Trading had issued a note of intent to make an offer for Aquascutum earlier this month, but a firm bid has so far not materialised.
Crombie chairman and chief executive Alan Lewis was also linked to an aproach for Aquascutum via his investment firm Hartley Group today.
Aquascutum’s 340 staff are currently in consultation while the fate and future ownership of the business is decided.
Former chief executive Kim Winser left the business last month after a management buyout attempt failed.