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Cradle Says ‘Bonjour’ to L’Artisan

NEW YORK — The recent acquisition of L’Artisan Parfumeur not only gave Cradle Holdings a sophisticated, perennial holiday favorite, but it also heightened Cradle’s status as an international outfit.<br><br>Cradle bought...

NEW YORK — The recent acquisition of L’Artisan Parfumeur not only gave Cradle Holdings a sophisticated, perennial holiday favorite, but it also heightened Cradle’s status as an international outfit.

Cradle bought L’Artisan last week, as reported, a brand with roughly $20 million in volume, according to industry estimates. Terms of the arrangement were not disclosed but sources speculated that the deal was worth $10 million to $15 million.

“We had been looking at [L’Artisan] for a while,” said Jane Terker, Cradle’s president and chief operating officer. “It was a deal we knew we wanted, so we did it quickly.” Cradle, continuing a now year-long approach of growth via acquisition, is backed by Fox Paine & Company, a San Francisco-based investment firm that provides equity capital for management-led buyouts.

The Jan. 21 finalization of the L’Artisan deal, which was reportedly negotiated for two months, also officially marked the appointment of Remi Clero, formerly president of Paco Rabanne. Clero, now directeur general of Cradle France, will run that operation out of L’Artisan’s existing space on Paris’ Rue de L’Enfer. Marie Dumont, who previously headed L’Artisan, will continued to lead the creative side and a staff of 39, while Clero will run the business side. Within Cradle France, Clero also will run regional operations of the firm’s two existing brands, Erno Laszlo and Penhaligon’s, which Cradle acquired last year. Cradle Paris is the firm’s second European outpost, after gaining a U.K. affiliate with the Penhaligon’s acquisition.

L’Artisan was founded more than 30 years ago by perfumer Jean Laporte. The collection features 30 fragrances, in perfumes, candles and sachets. L’Artisan is carried in fewer than 20 upscale U.S. specialty stores, including Bergdorf Goodman and seven Barneys New York locations. Internationally, the brand is in more than 100 doors. Retailers regularly cite the increased appeal of the brand around holidays.

“While L’Artisan certainly has a lot of room for growth, we’re not going to expand its distribution dramatically,” said Terker, who thinks distribution numbers could swell to between 45 and 70 U.S. locations and 200 to 250 international doors within a year of the acquisition.

L’Artisan has four freestanding doors, including one in the U.K. and three in France. A new L’Artisan flagship is slated to open across from the Louvre on Feb. 26.