Now presiding over six major high street fashion chains following the sale of Whistles to Jane Shepherdson earlier this year, Derek Lovelock remains a powerful force in the sector.
Although core brands such as Oasis and Principles are understood to have had a difficult year there are still bright spots in the portfolio with Karen Millen and Warehouse both having carved a niche and loyal following. Shoe Studio Group remains the black sheep of the group but Lovelock has brought in a new management team to address issues with brand overlap and out of date product. All this aside, Lovelock was dealt a massive blow at the end of the year with the collapse of Kaupthing, a shareholder and banker to Mosaic and the knock-on effect this had on Baugur which owns 49% (CHK). This culminated in speculation that Sir Philip Green would take over debt within the business and therefore control of its brands but so far, no deal has materialised. Lovelock himself has been linked to a buyout of the business but rumours persist that the group will be broken up into more manageable chunks in early 2009, although it is understood that this would be a complex and expensive process. 2009 could see a dramatic rise or fall in Lovelock’s fortunes.