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USC founders return to young fashion chain

David Douglas and Angus Morrison, the founders of USC, are returning to the young fashion chain they sold to Sir Tom Hunter’s West Coast Capital fund for around £45 million in 2004.

David Douglas will join the board of USC as strategic buying and merchandise director. Angus Morrison has been appointed a non-executive director.

Their return to USC, the business they founded together in 1989, is part of a broader agreement between the duo and Sir Tom Hunter’s West Coast Capital private equity firm to look at other strategic opportunities in the retail and fashion sectors. West Coast Capital also has a 10% stake in House of Fraser and owns footwear chain Office.

“The skill set that David and Angus bring will help us excel the rate of growth of USC, as the UK’s premium branded fashion retailer. I look forward to working with them on that opportunity and any others.”

Sir Tom Hunter, chairman of West Coast Capital

Hunter, who is chairman of West Coast Capital said: “The skill set that David and Angus bring will help us excel the rate of growth of USC, as the UK’s premium branded fashion retailer. I look forward to working with them on that opportunity and any others.”

Douglas and Morrison founded USC in 1989, growing the chain to 40 stores by the time it was sold to Hunter. Both Douglas and Morrison are hugely respected by the young fashion market, Douglas particularly for his vision and product knowledge and Morrison for his management skills and his retail knowledge.

The appointments will be welcomed by suppliers to the chain, some of whom had lost confidence in the company after they were stung by a pre-pack administration deal just after Christmas, which saw it shed around 15 stores. The chain has posted significant losses in recent year. It recorded a pre-tax loss of £9 million in 2007 on top of losses of £8.7m in 2006.

Douglas is also the creative force behind young fashion brand Gio-Goi, which he bought a stake in in 2005. Since his involvement the brand has exploded in popularity in the UK, winning the Drapers Young Fashion Brand of the Year Award in 2007.

What do you think about the return of David Douglas and Angus Morrison to the retail sector and to USC? Post your comments in the box below.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Welcome back. To excellent retailers return to the fold!

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  • Great news for USC and the young fashion sector. This is what we need - experienced retailers coming back to the frontline to help us all trade through the recession. To Angus and David thank you for being bold enough to do this. And it looks to me like it must be because of a love of this trade and industry that you've done it. Can't wait to see the results of your strategy and the resulting profit. I just pray you are given free rein to do it as you would wish.

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