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Terry Leahy takes stake in Atterley Road as part of £2m investment

Premium etailer Atterley Road has secured £2m from a consortium of investors that includes ex-Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy.

Atterley Road, which launched in 2011, sells labels such as Day Birger et Mikkelsen, Ganni, Part Two, Maison Scotch, Selected Femmeand Second Female, as well as its eponymous own label. Co-founded by Edward David and former head of jersey for Jigsaw Katie Starmer-Smith, it now receives 200,000 visits monthly and sells in more than 100 countries.

Leahy has invested alongside The William Currie Group, which has previously taken a  stake in The Hut Group, Robert Willett and fund house Artemis.  Between them the consortium has taken a “material minority stake”, although the founders remain the largest individual shareholders.

David, who is also chief executive, told Drapers the bulk of the £2m would be used to build Atterley Road’s own label business, aiming to grow the division from 5-10% of overall sales to 50% within 12-to-18 months.

“Our core target customer is in her 30s and we feel there is not a lot of great affordable fashion out there, so that is the gap in the market we are targeting,” he said.

Atterley Road clothing retails at a slightly cheaper price point to some of its third party brands – around £80 for a dress, with accessories such as scarves starting at £30.

David said there would be no change to the brand mix as a result of building its own label, beyond broadening the labels on offer. “Our customers keep telling us we don’t have enough – for us it’s about having more brands, more price points and more different end users.”

The investment is also being used to build the team from its current head count of 10. David said he was “furiously recruiting” and hoped to double the number of staff in the next few months, of which a large proportion would be responsible for the own label, as well as marketing, editorial content and technology ahead of the launch of an app.

“We want to build the business in step with our revenues,” he added. “We are not going to overbuild the team before revenues come in.”

According to its most recent accounts, for the year to June 30, 2012, the business had total assets less current liabilities of £1.77m.

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