Manchester Square Enterprises, a subsidiary of Pentland Group, has made a multimillion-pound investment in York-based super indie Sarah Coggles.
Co-owners Mark Bage and sister Sarah Marwood have diluted their shareholdings in the business to raise cash to finance expansion of the award-winning retail concept and web business Coggles.com.
Bage declined to comment on the value of the deal, but said the private equity arm of Pentland Group had secured a minority stake and that the money would be used to “create a new community of people which haven’t been sold to before online”.
He said that the indie would target an underserved customer positioned between Net-A-Porter and My-wardrobe at the higher end and Topshop.com and Asos at the lower end. He said that the online fashion market was “too polarised”.
Sarah Coggles will increase its buying budget for young and emerging designers and established brands. Bage said while Coggles.com would remain largely unchanged to the consumer, “more interesting collaborations” were on the cards.
The investment has reunited Bage with Adam Jagger, his former head of retail, who has been lured back after the cash injection paid for Sarah Coggles to open a London buying office. Jagger left Sarah Coggles in 2008 to join Asos as premium menswear buyer. He will become buying director. His impact on the collections will be felt from autumn 11.
Bage is also thought to be scouting for a possible London store. He said: “There are no plans to open a London store in the immediate future. [If we did] we [wouldn’t] go to a traditionally cool fashion place. We are not going to be opening a trendy clothing store in Shoreditch or Dalston.”
Bage is also recruiting a head of marketing and a financial director. Sarah Coggles operations officer Richard Hatfield has been promoted to chief operating officer.
Bage said Coggles.com would further expand the indie’s presence overseas, but declined to provide details. He added that the indie would not open stores overseas.
For an in-depth interview with Mark Bage click here.