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MANCHESTER – Online fast fashion business Boohoo has purchased the online business of the UK brands Karen Millen and Coast in a deal worth £18.2m. Karen Millen had been put up for sale by its Icelandic owners, Kaupthing bank, in June and both brands were put into administration this week. They were sold to Boohoo as a pre-pack sale. While the move means the iconic Karen Millen brand will remain in existence, it is anticipated tat more than 1,000 jobs are now at risk as a result of the sale across the company’s 32 UK high street stores.

The deal is part of a broader restructuring of the UK high street. At the current time, there are suggestions that Debenhams could enter administration in September, while a sizeable number of House of Fraser stores are set to shut following its purchase by Sports Direct. Meanwhile, Arcadia Group has been undergoing a restructuring which has seen it propose a number of Company Voluntary Agreements.

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Karen Millen lost £5.7m in 2018 and £11.9m a year before.

Boohoo chief executive John Lyttle said: “The acquisition of the online business of two great and renowned British brands in Karen Millen and Coast represents another milestone in the group’s growth story as it continues to invest in its scalable multi-brand platform and gain further share in the global fashion e-commerce market.”

Boohoo was founded 14 years ago in Manchester, and has won a huge allegiance of young customers selling own-brand clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products.

It has around 13 million active customer accounts globally across its existing brands.

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