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Bregal Freshstream acquires Radley

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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British handbag and accessories brand Radley has been acquired by private equity firm Bregal Freshstream for an undisclosed sum.

Radley has 33 stores and eight concessions across the UK, and has a presence in John Lewis, House of Fraser, and more than 200 other department stores and independent shops nationwide. The British label also operates dedicated online stores for the UK, German and Japanese markets.

Since 2007, the handbag and accessories brand has been majority owned by Exponent Private Equity, and its new owner Bregal Freshstream has stated that it is aiming to continue to further grow Radley’s business both in the UK and overseas.

Stating that the international market has “significant potential” as currently the business only generates just over 10 percent of its total sales outside of the UK, predominantly via distributors in Germany and Japan and, of the 90 percent UK sales, some 10-15 percent are to non-British customers visiting its UK stores.

As part of the deal, veteran retailer Don McCarthy, who has previously held the position of executive chairman at House of Fraser, has been brought in as chairman. He will work together with Radley’s current chief executive Justin Stead, who Bregal Freshstream states has a “proven and very successful track record of building shareholder value for businesses on a global basis”.

Freshstream managing partner Patrick Smulders said: “Radley is a well-known and cherished British brand with beautiful products, an excellent management team and a strong financial track record. We see significant opportunity for the group to build on its international appeal and are delighted to have the combination of Don and Justin working together again, they have an outstanding track record of success. Alongside the existing Radley team, we see this as an exciting new stage of the company’s development.”

British handbag label Radley acquired by Bregal Freshstream

Radley chief executive Justin Stead added: “We have enjoyed a strong period of growth in recent years and see huge potential for the business to build on the momentum we have generated to date. We have a loyal, and growing, customer base plus a very clear vision and strategic plan to grow the business that will see us pursue further UK expansion and international growth.”

McCarthy, incoming Chairman, added: “I am delighted to be joining such a well-known brand at such an exciting stage of its development. Justin and his team have worked hard to build Radley into a brand that is synonymous with high quality design and workmanship so, with Freshstream’s backing, I am confident that we can all help the Group to capitalise on its enormous potential.”

This marks Bregal Freshstream third investment following its successful investments in infrastructure contractor Taziker Industrial in March 2016 and Belgian self-service restaurant chain Lunch Garden in December 2015.

It is hoping that it can capitalise on the affordable luxury segment of the global luxury goods market, which was worth 161 billion pounds in 2014, and it states that Radley is “ideally positioned” as handbags are the fast growing market in this segment. The private equity firm also adds that the UK handbag market alone was worth 1.6 billion in 2015 and has grown at a CAGR of 7 percent since 2011 make this a great investment.

Images: Radley Facebook

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