All Saints chief executive Stephen Craig said the fashion retailer’s new private equity backers had provided a “war chest” for its growth plans.
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Craig said Lion Capital and Goode Partners “believe in our strategy to have an ecommerce brand with world-class stores”. He said: “They have provided a war chest to forge ahead in pursuit of this opportunity.”
All Saints was sold last week to a consortium led by Lion Capital following months of wrangling. After being put up for sale by its Icelandic shareholders, it attracted a lot of interest but several potential deals fell through.
The eventual deal, which valued All Saints at £105m, means the retailer’s founder Kevin Stanford will own 15% of the company with an option to buy a further 5%. He will remain chairman. Goode owns 10% and has an option to add a further 10% and the management, led by Craig, owns 9%. Lion holds the remaining shares.
Craig said investment would be used to pay off £22m of mezzanine debt owned by defunct Icelandic banks Kaupthing and Glitnir and pay suppliers anything overdue, with the remainder ploughed back into the business.
Craig, who described the past few months as being “more stressful than post the Icelandic banking collapse ”, said his focus had been avoiding administration to protect the business’s employees and suppliers. Craig said that trade had been hampered in February because the retailer had struggled to bring in new stock, but that business in April had improved thanks to new deliveries. He said: “We are £1m in front of budgeted EBITDA. We are in front on like-for-like sales and the web is on fire.”
He said All Saints’ global expansion strategy would be “opportunity dependent”. Stores in Washington and Chicago are on track to open as planned in June and other overseas openings will resume in the second half.