Jack Wills acquired by founder and Liberty owner
Jack Wills’ CEO and founder, Peter Williams, has partnered with BlueGem Capital Partners LLP, owner of landmark London store Liberty, to acquire 100% of the share capital of Jack Wills Group through a new entity called Union Lifestyle Limited.
The transaction, now complete, will lead significant growth for the retailer as new capital is invested to facilitate growth of the Jack Wills brand both in the UK and internationally.
“The transaction with BlueGem is very exciting and the new capital allows us to continue our international expansion and fast paced revival. BlueGem have a proven track record of building successful partnerships with premium British brands such as Liberty of London,” said Peter Williams, Founder and CEO of Jack Wills.
It also emerged on Monday that Derek Lovelock, Executive Chairman of Mamas and Papas has joined Jack Wills as Non Executive Chairman.
Additionally, the retailer revealed its financial results for the period between 2 February 2015 and 31 January 2016. Turnover was up 4.1% to £137.4m, compared with £132.0m in the previous year, however EBITDA before exceptional items fell 41.4% to £5.1m from £8.7m in the previous year.
Performance in the first half of the period was impacted by continued disruption linked to a decision to outsource the Group’s distribution operations to an external logistics provider. The transition created significant operational disturbances to inventory systems and processes throughout 2015, and this continued to impact performance in the first half of 2016.
The company subsequently decided to bring the operation back in-house, which was successfully completed by the end of January 2016.
“The underlying financial health of Jack Wills is strong. The performance of the business during 2015/16 shows a real year of two halves with a dramatic improvement in profitability in the second half. The numbers clearly show that momentum has returned and significant results are being delivered. Importantly, this improvement in trading has continued into the first half of the current year,” said Peter Williams.
The business is currently focused on strengthening and growing its presence in the UK and overseas, with plans to open 13 new stores by the end of January. The retailer currently trades from 66 stores in the UK, eight in the US, five in Hong Kong, and one each in Singapore and Macau.
The brand is also working on a new initiative to increase transparency of the supply chain, titled Fabric-of-Jack.
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