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Private equity drives Gerard Darel growth

French womenswear label Gérard Darel plans to double its turnover after private equity firm Advent International bought a majority stake in the brand for an undisclosed sum.

Gérard Darel aims to double its 40 standalone stores in France and develop its international business with the cash injection.
It currently sells in 45 countries via 90 standalone stores, 140 department store concessions and 1,200 wholesale stockists.

Sales at the brand were €158 million (£125m) last year, up 12% from the previous year. More than 30% of turnover is from international markets.

It sits alongside brands such as MaxMara, Nicole Farhi and Fenn Wright Manson.

Gérard Darel chief executive Laurent Gerbi said: “Turnover has grown sixfold in the past 10 years and we want to double it in the next five. We will concentrate on going deeper into key markets where we already have retail operations. The UK and Spain will be the focus.”

Managing director of operations David Maruani said the brand was scouting for locations for boutique-sized standalone stores in London. “We are in House of Fraser, Fenwicks, Harrods and John Lewis but we want our own stores too. It will enhance the wholesale side of the business as well, which we also want to develop.”

The company will also continue to expand via franchise partners in Russia, United Arab Emirates and South Korea.

The existing management team will remain in place. Managing director of Advent International in France, Pascal Stefani, said: “We are delighted to support the management team composed of Danielle Darel, Laurent Gerbi and David Maruani, whose ambitions and values we share, in this new phase in the company’s development. We have been impressed by the quality of Gérard Darel’s products and its excellent positioning in the affordable luxury goods market.

“The company’s future growth prospects are strong and the performance of its retail and wholesale network, as well as the professionalism of its management team, are equally important assets, which will allow Gérard Darel to become a leading women’s clothing and leather goods brand worldwide.”

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