Icelandic investor Arev to expand chain

Maternity wear chain Blooming Marvellous has been bought by Icelandic chain Arev for about£5 million.

The 14-store chain was set up by mothers Judy Lever and Vivienne Pringle in 1983 to provide alternatives to frumpy, old-fashioned maternity dresses and trousers.

Blooming Marvellous now has subsidiary brands, including Mini Marvellous, a web site and mail order business. It is pitched at the affluent “yummy mummy” market.

Arev is understood to have plans to increase the number of stores to 25 and position the chain alongside Mamas & Papas.

Arev is steadily raising its profile in the UK, building a stable of boutique retailers. It owns womenswear chain Ghost, one-time dressmaker to the Queen, Hardy Aimes, homewares retailer Linens ‘n‘ Things, luxury brand Duchamp, Midlands-based retailer Limeys and Glasgow-based fashion designer Cruise. Earlier this summer, it bought outdoor clothing retailer Mountain Warehouse for£15 million.

The Icelandic investor was founded by Jon Scheving Thorsteinsson, a former right-hand man of Jon Asgeir Johannesson, the chairman of Baugur.

Arev is also understood to be considering selling its Jones the Bootmaker chain, which no longer fits into its strategy of acquiring upmarket or niche businesses with expansion opportunities.