Jack Wills sold as profit slumps

British fashion retailer Jack Wills has been sold to the parent of upmarket department store Liberty of London.

The sale took place quietly last month, when Union Lifestyle acquired 100 per cent of the Jack Wills share capital. Union Lifestyle is jointly owned by BlueGem Partners and Peter Williams. BlueGem owns Liberty of London; Williams was the founder of Jack Wills and serves currently as its CEO. The shares were acquired from Inflexion.

“The transaction with BlueGem is very exciting and the new capital allows us to continue our international expansion and fast paced revival,” Williams said.

“BlueGem has a proven track record of building successful partnerships with premium British brands such as Liberty of London.”

Jack Wills has 81 stores including five in Hong Kong, one each in Singapore and Macau and 66 in the UK. Williams returned to the CEO role in August last year after the company began to encounter challenges building sales and profit while expanding internationally and has reported a “notable improvement” in performance since.

The chain, which specialises in stylish casualwear for men and women, recorded a 41.4 per cent drop in full-year net profit to £5.1 million this year, compared to £8.7 million the previous year.

“The numbers clearly show that momentum has returned and significant results are being delivered,” Williams said this week.

“This improvement in trading has continued into the first half of the current year.”

Jack Wills plans to open 13 new stores before the end of January 2017.


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