The Duchess of Cambridge in a Hobbs coat and Princess Charlotte
LONDON — TFG Brands London Ltd. has acquired the high-street clothing brand Hobbs and will add it to a stable that includes fellow British brands Whistles and Phase Eight.The terms of the deal were not disclosed.The women’s wear brand, a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge, notched sales in fiscal 2016-17 of 120 million pounds. It has more than 140 outlets across stores and concessions in the U.K., and sells online in 49 countries and at stores such as Bloomingdale’s in the U.S. and in Germany via Wöhrl and Sinn.Ben Barnett, chief executive officer of TFG London, said the Hobbs team has successfully “repositioned and reinvigorated the brand, offering an excellent platform for further growth. We share their ambitions, not only in terms of maximizing the success of their well-established U.K. presence, but also in their strategic approach toward leveraging the international appeal of the brand.”Lee Harlow, managing director of TFG London, said the company sees “significant opportunity” to develop Hobbs in the U.K. and internationally, leveraging the network and relationships established within Phase Eight and Whistles.TFG London, which is owned by The Foschini Group Ltd., a South African retail concern, operates 28 brands across fashion, jewelry, homeware, sports and other sectors. It has more than 4,000 stores in 32 countries. TFG entered the U.K. market through the acquisition of the women's wear brand Phase Eight in 2015.Hobbs, which launched in London in 1981 as a shoe label, is best known for its elegant, tailored workwear and collections that nod to the trends on the runway. The brand also offers a full footwear collection, relying on its own factory in Italy.The linees are designed and created by an in-house team and atelier based in London.In March, Hobbs made a push in the U.S., opening a shop in Greenwich, Conn. The 2,400-square-foot unit is located at 243 Greenwich Avenue. “This is a very big moment for Hobbs,” said Jim Walters, president of Hobbs USA. “International growth is a focus for the company.”In the U.S., Walters said Hobbs is set to open an average of two stand-alone stores annually beginning next year, and ultimately operating up to 25 stores there.
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