Lion Capital snaps up lingerie business

Retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis has sold his lingerie chain Contessa to private equity firm Lion Capital for an undisclosed sum.

The deal follows the sale of Paphitis’s other lingerie business, La Senza, to Lion Capital this summer.

The Contessa name will disappear from the high street and its 66 UK stores will be converted to La Senza shops.

Contessa’s branded offer will be axed in favour of La Senza’s higher margin own-labels.The deal catapults La Senza into second place in the lingerie market, giving it a 5.5 per cent share, behind market leader Marks & Spencer, which has 26.7 per cent, according to TNS Worldpanel Fashion.

Paphitis, who will remain a non-executive director, said: ‘La Senza will be a 200-plus chain by the end of next year. It’s an aggressive expansion plan.’