David Reiss has vowed to retain operational control of the premium fashion chain he founded in 1971 for the foreseeable future, after announcing the sale of a majority stake to private equity firm Warburg Pincus.
“I’m not going anywhere. Reiss is in my blood,” he told Drapers earlier today.
The deal, which values Reiss at £230m, marks the first time he has opened up the business to outside investment.
“While it is never easy for a founder and entrepreneur to share control, this is the right thing for the future development of the business,” said Reiss.
“Warburg Pincus share the same business philosophy and ambitions for Reiss as me and I am genuinely excited about the opportunity to work with a global partner.”
Reiss appointed Morgan Stanley in July to review options for growing the business.
He said he went into the process “open-minded as to the right structure for an investment”. He added: “The thing that mattered most was finding the right partner.”
There are no short term plans to make significant changes to the business, he said. But Reiss added that “over time, the partnership with Warburg Pincus will help [the business] to professionalise its approach in certain areas, particularly in the international roll-out programme.”
Reiss currently trades from 160 stores worldwide. In an interview with Drapers in January 2015, Reiss said he’d like to increase this to 250.
Reflecting on that today, he said: “To be honest 250 seemed an incredibly ambitious number only two years ago. Now it feels like another milestone we will pass with ease over the next few years.”
He insisted the UK would remain its core market. “There are lots of opportunities for new stores, growth online and range extensions [in the UK]. There’s lots to do.”