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This week in history...

…was the week that now House of Fraser chairman Don McCarthy was catapulted into the big league with his purchase of Rubicon Retail in 2005, while Terry Green completed his acquisition of Allders this week in 2003…

This week in 2005 marked the week that then Shoe Studio Group boss Don McCarthy (and now executive chairman of House of Fraser) splashed out £140 million to buy Rubicon Retail, the company behind womenswear chains principles“>Principles and Warehouse, marking his first foray out of footwear and into the clothing sector.

What a deal McCarthy’s turned out to be, just one year later he flogged the group to Mosaic Fashions, in a deal that valued the business at £325m. But the deal turned out to be a difficult one for Mosaic Fashions to swallow and while McCarthy went on to buy into House of Fraser with the now failed retail investor Baugur, Mosaic Fashion struggled to cope with its unwieldy eight-brand conglomerate. Difficulties with integration of the two group eventually prompted Mosaic Fashions to delist from the Icelandic stock exchange in 2007 so it could get on with sorting out its troubles in private.

Earlier this year Mosaic Fashions put Shoe Studio Group up for sale and Principles is also thought to be available at the right price. Mosaic Fashions is now in constant talks with its bank and shareholder Kaupthing about a refinancing package, to help reduce its debt burden. Not sure anyone could have predicted the outcome of that tale…

This week in 2003 Terry Green, the now chief executive of clothing and hardlines at Tesco, reached an agreement to buy department store Allders for £158 million via the Scarlett Retail vehicle, which was backed by property firm Minerva. The deal saw Sir Tom Hunter removed as a shareholder of the business. Green told Drapers at the time he planned to carry out a “root and branch” review of the business but just two years later Allders collapsed into administration.

This week in 2004 Sir Stuart Rose was preparing for his first London Fashion Week as chairman of the British Fashion Council. At the time designers from the London catwalks told Drapers they didn’t want “someone from the high street” running their event. But Rose’s vision to bring together creative design and commercial retail paid off, with London Fashion Week improving significantly in terms of quality of visitors under his three year tenure as chairman.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Brilliant idea this! God it's so weird to look back and remember what happened just five years ago. Don't think we ever would have forseen the outcome. I'd forgotten Don McCarthy was once just a footwear retailer.

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