Next, the retail powerhouse, appears to be on the verge of acquiring FatFace in a deal reportedly worth over £100 million. This potential acquisition follows a series of purchases by Next, including Made.com, Joules, JoJo Maman Bebe, and Cath Kidston.
According to sources, Next is in the final stages of this deal, and an official announcement could be imminent, potentially within this week. As of now, neither Next nor FatFace has officially commented on this development.
FatFace currently operates around 180 stores in the UK and had previously explored a sale approximately 18 months ago after its lenders took control three years ago.
In a strategic move reminiscent of its retail rival, Frasers Group, Next has been actively expanding its brand portfolio. In recent years, it increased its stake in Reiss to gain majority control and entered into partnership agreements with Gap, Laura Ashley, and Victoria’s Secret.
If the acquisition of FatFace materializes, Next would add a family-oriented apparel and lifestyle retailer to its stable, a popular UK brand with growing international presence. FatFace recently ventured into the Canadian market and has demonstrated solid growth in the United States.
As of now, the majority ownership of FatFace remains with Bridgepoint Capital, with the brand’s founders, Tim Slade and Jules Leaver, retaining a stake. Will Crumbie serves as the CEO of FatFace.
In its most recent financial accounts, for the year ending in May 2022, FatFace reported a surge in revenue to £234.8 million from £151.3 million. Notably, the brand transitioned from a loss of £11.2 million the previous year to a net profit of £5.2 million.
In January, FatFace reported impressive Christmas sales, with a robust 34% increase during the five weeks leading to January 7. Additionally, the brand’s sales for the 26 weeks until late November 2022 experienced a 9% uptick, reaching £136 million, driven by the recovery of its physical store locations as footfall rebounded.