By  on July 27, 2009

LONDON — Liberty plc is looking to spread its wings.

The British specialty store famous for its prints, vintage textiles and furniture, said Monday it would undertake a strategic review with an eye to expanding in the U.K. and internationally.

The company said after a “strong” trading performance in the first half of 2009 it planned to name advisers to identify ways in which the business can be “developed and expanded” domestically and abroad.

A Liberty spokesman declined further comment. However, a source close to the brand said Liberty was looking for ways to grow the business in the foreseeable future, and wants to explore its options.

The source said Liberty, which is majority-owned by MWB Group Holdings plc, a property company, and quoted on the London Stock Exchange, would consider bringing in new investors, issuing new shares or forming joint ventures.

“There is no pre-determined game plan. Nothing has been ruled in or ruled out. The aim is to grow the business,” said the source.

Liberty kicked off a “renaissance” earlier this year, reorganizing and refocusing the product mix and merchandising, bringing in new brands, and launching collaborations with Grayson Perry, Paul Morrison, Meg Matthews, Hermès and Luella Bartley.

In the year to Dec. 31, Liberty posted a 9.6 percent rise in sales to 50.2 million pounds, or $82.3 million, from 45.8 million pounds, or $75.1 million, thanks to a boost from men’s wear and beauty.

However, losses at the company deepened to 7.4 million pounds, or $12.1 million, from 6.7 million pounds, or $11 million, due, the company said, to an increase in one-off costs and a reorganization of expenses relating to the Regent Street flagship.

Earlier this month, Liberty shuttered the Sloane Street store for its Liberty of London brand after receiving an unsolicited offer from the Franco-Italian outerwear brand Moncler. The 2,000-square-foot store had stocked Liberty of London-branded accessories, ready-to-wear, stationery and costume jewelry and was the first Liberty of London standalone store.

The inventory has since been transferred to the Regent Street flagship, and a spokesman said the company was not ruling out opening another stand-alone unit.

To access this article, click here to subscribe or to log in.

To Read the Full Article

Tap into our Global Network

Of Industry Leaders and Designers

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus