White knight investor sought for Jack Wills

A buyer is being sought for fashion retailer Jack Wills.

The troubled UK-based retailer, which has stores in Hong Kong and Singapore, earlier received a cash injection to continue trading. Now its private-equity parent BlueGem is soliciting interest from potential buyers, according to trade journal Drapers

BlueGem would retain a minority stake in the business, which it clearly still believes in. 

Advisory firm KPMG has prepared a document which is being circulated to prospective investors. 

“The current investors believe the business can benefit from being part of a larger platform and would welcome the opportunity to retain a minority stake, which allows them to realise value from their investment to date,” the document reads.

Drapers reports that the £28 million cash injection from BlueGem in January has been almost exhausted. Jack Wills recorded a pre-tax loss of £29.3 million on sales of £139.5 million in the 12 months to January 31 last year, its last reported results.

The KPMG document lists a number of potential measures to stem ongoing losses, including closing stores in the US and not renewing the lease on some existing UK stores, including London’s Covent Garden. 

At least one prospective bidder has expressed interest in the business, according to Drapers

“In the meantime, management remains focused on its strategy of new product development, improving margins and driving cost efficiencies, which is already reaping benefits,” said a Jack Wills spokeswoman.


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