By  on September 6, 2006

HAMBURG, Germany — Jil Sander AG is entering a new era as a private company.

The fashion house's shareholders met here Tuesday and approved a "squeeze out" plan that would delist the company from the Frankfurt and Hamburg stock exchanges and lift London-based private equity group Change Capital to 100 percent ownership from its current stake of 98.5 percent. The equity group bought Jil Sander from Prada Group in February.

Meanwhile, speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Jil Sander chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris outlined a series of strategic objectives for the brand. They include the opening of two flagships, in Rome and Frankfurt; devising a new store concept with creative director Raf Simons; reorganizing the brand's accessories business, and tapping into the underexploited potential of products like fragrances and eyewear.

"It's all coming together," Ferraris told WWD. Now that restructuring efforts are complete and Jil Sander will have the flexibility to operate as a privately held company, he said it's time for "clear, concrete development."

Ferraris, who flew to Hamburg from South Korea and will depart for Japan on Thursday, is working on bolstering the brand's Asian presence. Three Jil Sander shop-in-shops open in Japanese department stores this week.

Elsewhere on the retail front, flagships will open in Rome at the end of September and in Frankfurt at the beginning of next year, bringing the total number of freestanding stores in the world to 23.

Jil Sander is also rethinking its store locations in London, where the company shuttered its flagship last year, and in Paris, as it prepares to revamp its whole retail look. While a new store concept is in the works, but Ferraris said it's too soon to estimate when it will bow.

"Raf Simons is in our company, [and we want to develop] the new store concept with him," Ferraris said.

Retail aside, Ferraris and chief financial officer Armin Mueller said they want to develop a stronger royalty stream from licensed products. The executives said they are happy with beauty licensee Coty, but they want to work with their partner to boost visibility and sales of Jil Sander fragrances, especially in the duty free channel.

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