Jun 1, 2017
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Jimmy Choo upbeat as men's and scent are strong, Investcorp said to be a bidder

Jun 1, 2017

Up-for-sale luxury footwear specialist Jimmy Choo was cheerful Thursday as it said its business “continues to make excellent progress, trading strongly” in the year-to-date and "in line with management's expectations.” The statement came ahead of its annual general meeting.

Jimmy Choo

What people really wanted to hear about though was whether the company’s sale process has moved forward following April’s news that Choo, as well as Bally and Belstaff, were on the block as their controlling shareholder focuses on other parts of its business.  

But there was no news from the firm on whether any bids have come in or even what level of interest has been shown in the brand. However, with first-round bids expected this month, it has emerged that private equity firm Investcorp could be trying for the second time to buy Choo after first bidding six years ago. The investor, which has holdings in Italian menswear brand Corneliani, also tried to buy a stake in Versace three years ago.

It looks like Investcorp might need to dig deep into its pockets if it is to win the prize with Michael Kors, Valentino owner Mayhoola, Coach and several others also believed to be interested.

But while management did not comment on any of the bidder speculation Thursday, it did talk up the brand’s prospects, with the underlying message being “this is a company worth buying”.

Jimmy Choo said all categories have shown “strong growth” in the current financial year, with Men's remaining the star performer. The company was a relative latecomer to men’s footwear but it has outperformed ever since its launch. And it also said that in Fragrance, its licence is “performing particularly well.”

The men's business has been a key driver for Jimmy Choo, as has fragrance, with the two categories combining for the new Man Ice scent - Jimmy Choo

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the brand’s future ownership, the company has continued to plough on with its upgrade and expansion programme and since the start of the year has opened six stores, as well as completing eight renovations.

This has helped it continue to see “strong progress” in Asia and Japan with “good development” in EMEA and the US, where it said it has been “very encouraged” by the progressive development of its online business as it rolls out omnichannel services. Its planned joint ventures in the UAE and South Korea remain on track for the second half of the year.

Chairman Peter Harf rammed home the  upbeat message, saying: "The prospects for the business are stronger than ever. As a result of the investment we have made, we see significant opportunities for growth ahead of the market and margin expansion. Pierre [Denis, the CEO] and his team have made remarkable progress in nurturing the brand DNA, in strengthening the business execution and enhancing the overall client experience.”

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