N Brown’s acquisition of multi-channel retailer High & Mighty could lead to stores for the home shopping group’s other brands.
N Brown chief executive Alan White said: “We can experiment by having a small group of stores in big cities and it gives us a learning experience as to how to be other than just catalogue and online.”
The retailer bought parts of the High & Mighty business from administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers last week for £1.6m securing 101 jobs and keeping open 14 of the outsize specialist’s 22 UK stores.
“We have very much a multi-channel strategy. We would like to build up catalogue and online alongside the stores,” said White.
At present High & Mighty generates about £1m of sales online and White believes N Brown can significantly build on that.
The deal did not include seven stores owned by a subsidiary of High & Mighty in Belgium and Holland, but these may be bought as part of a separate transaction.
N Brown has the licences for the stores acquired for up to six months, after which time it will decide whether to refurbish, relocate or shut them.
High & Mighty’s family owners have now left the business, as has former chief executive Adrian Wright who stepped down in August. Its head office in Newbury, Berkshire, will be retained for the time being and reviewed.
N Brown group development director Paul Kendrick will be acting chief to get the businesses up and running and integrated.
White said High & Mighty would fit well with N Brown’s Jacamo business. “Jacamo has been great and there may be some crossover,” he said. White added: “High & Mighty is more upmarket, with brands such as Ralph Lauren.”
White did not rule out further acquisitions by N Brown if they fitted well with the business. “We must make sure we don’t get indigestion. We want to do small things and do them well,” he added.