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Hunter snaps up Van Mildert stake following Cruise rescue

Sir Tom Hunter has bought a stake in Van Mildert, the Middlesbrough-based mini-chain with which he has partnered as part of his rescue of designer indie chain Cruise.

The retail entrepreneur has invested an undisclosed sum in the five-store retailer, which operates in Harrogate, Gateshead, Durham, Darlington and York. Van Mildert is owned by Delima, the parent company which also owns middle-market fascias Box Clothing and Tucci, as well as RTC, an agency in the North representing brands including Firetrap.

Hunter rescued Cruise from administration last month and entered into a joint venture agreement with Van Mildert, which will see the mini-chain take control of all of Cruise’s buying.

A spokesman for Hunter said: “Sir Tom Hunter is delighted to have made an investment into Van Mildert to help grow the business.”

Hunter rescued 10-store Cruise from administrators Deloitte last month. Cruise had fallen into administration after a period of difficult trading, which was exacerbated by bad weather at its key locations.

Hunter confirmed he would continue to trade at all 10 of Cruise’s shops and said he would shortly announce an “innovative shareholding structure” for the business.

Hunter added he would also undertake a strategic review of Cruise to firm up a growth plan for the business. Cruise has stores across the UK in Aberdeen, Belfast, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leicester and Newcastle.

The rescue of Cruise came just weeks after Hunter sold footwear chain Office for an undisclosed sum to private equity firm Silverfleet. Office will appoint a chairman imminently.

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