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Kurt Geiger sold to Jones Group for £215m

UPDATED: US retail giant Jones Group has confirmed it has bought premium footwear retailer Kurt Geiger for £215m.

Private equity backer Graphite Capital has netted more than double the £95m it paid for it in 2008.

Chief executive Neil Clifford continues as chief executive, leading the existing management team.

Jones Group, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, owns footwear brand Nine West which Kurt Geiger has the licensing and distribution deal for in the UK.

Jones Group said Kurt Geiger will now “serve as Jones’s hub in Europe”.

Jones Group was linked to a potential bid for luxury footwear label Jimmy Choo last month which was subsequently sold to luxury goods group Labelux for £550m.

Wesley R. Card, Jones Group chief executive, said: “This transaction is about pursuing opportunities to optimise our portfolio and establishing a strong foothold in Europe. 

“The addition of Kurt Geiger to Jones is consistent with our strategy of identifying companies with best-in-class talent and proven brands that have the potential for substantial growth. 

“We have the utmost respect for Neil and have got to know the team well over the years as our distribution partner for Nine West in the UK.  We welcome them to Jones.”

Neil Clifford, Kurt Geiger chief executive, said: “Kurt Geiger has experienced exceptional growth over the last five years via the expansion of the core business and commitment to increasing our global presence. 

“Kurt Geiger is still relatively young in terms of growth profile, with great potential still to be fulfilled.  We have developed a strong relationship with Jones and recognize it as an established designer, retailer and wholesaler in the US. 

“Jones has a clear track record of supporting and growing its brands, and we are confident that we have found the right strategic partner to help evolve our business.  

“We look forward to leveraging our global infrastructures to bring the Kurt Geiger and Jones Group brands to more audiences worldwide.”

In October, Kurt Geiger denied sale rumours as it said operating profits jumped 21% to £11.5m in the year to January 31, 2010.  Like-for-like sales increased 8% over the period and turnover grew 17% to £163m as Kurt Geiger opened 12 new standalones worldwide, bringing its total portfolio of bricks and mortar stores to 63 at the time. It wanted to open 40 new stores in the UK over five years.

Its current store portfolio comprises 43 standalones in the UK, 10 in the Middle East and 10 in mainland Europe. It also operates 112 concessions in a number of department store chains including Selfridges, Liberty, Harrods and Debenhamsand stocks third-party premium footwear brands Gucci, Prada and Jimmy Choo.

Its own-brands include the eponymous label, Carvela, KG by Kurt Gieger and Miss KG.

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