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Liberty buys hat brand as first half sales rise

Liberty has acquired luxury hat brand Christys’ Hats for an undisclosed amount as the iconic department store reports a hike in sales for the first half of the year.

Liberty, which saw sales increase 16% for the six months to July 31, says the acquisition marks the start of its investment in niche luxury brands with a strong British heritage.

Marco Capello, owner and chairman of Liberty, said: “These extremely positive results have given us even more confidence in the potential of Liberty as a global brand. For this reason, all of the company’s profits have been and will be reinvested in the company to enable its further growth.”

The acquisition of the brand from Christys’ Group comes as the shareholders are set to spend £1.2m on a renovation and expansion project to add over 2,400 sq ft of retail space to the store.

The first part of the project is set to be completed by mid-October and will add five beauty treatment rooms, a personal shopping department, a hair salon and a rooftop bar to the London store.

The second part of the project, due to be completed at the end of March 2012, will involve expanding its ground floor by over 600 sq ft to house a further six bag brands and eight new jewellery brands.

Liberty will also build an additional entrance on the corner of Kingly Street and Little Marlborough Street to give customers direct access to its new jewellery and accessories room.

Through the deal Liberty has brought Christys’ Hats into the store. It said it will work with the brand to develop the range and will roll out the first Christys’ women’s hat collection early next year.

Christys’ Hats, which was founded in 1773, offers a range of hats including British-made trilbys, tweed flat caps and bowlers. The brand has been worn by Queen Elizabeth II, Sir Winston Churchill, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. Retail prices range from £55 to £95.

Capello bought Liberty last year for £32m last year via his BlueGem Capital Partners investment vehicle.

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