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Scotts & Co snaps up Rowland’s Clothing

Multichannel retailer Scotts & Co has acquired country clothing business Rowland’s Clothing.

Rowland’s, which was sold via nine stores, catalogues and its website, fell into administration for the second time in March, two years after it was saved by Rosemex Trading, a subsidiary of London-based New World Private Equity.

It employed around 55 people, most of whom worked in its stores.

Scotts & Co has taken on two of the former staff and said it may employ others in the future.

Scotts & Co had made no secret of its ambition to acquire a mid-market womenswear brand and previously expressed interest in Rowland’s, which targets the over-50s.

“Having tracked the company over the past 15 years, we identified a strong affinity between our customer base and the Rowland’s brand,” said Nigel Swabey, chairman of Scotts & Co.

It is the latest in a string of acquisitions by the Wiltshire-based group in the past five years. Scotts & Co now comprises 10 businesses – including home-shopping womenswear retailers Artigiano and Prelude – and claims to own the largest database of “affluent, 55-plus female mail-order buyers” in the UK.

Swabey said Rowland’s would be relaunched in February 2015 under its original name Rowlands of Bath.

In the meantime, the group has licensed the name so existing stock can be sold off.

“This is a business that lost its way and needs to return to its roots,” said Swabey. “The process needs to start with a complete redesign and rebalancing of the product range.

“Our aim is to create a collection that honours the tradition of Rowlands of Bath as a retailer of high-quality clothing for customers aged 55-plus.”

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