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Liberty Gets New Minority Investors

Sales grow 7 percent.

LONDON — Liberty is shifting up a gear: The British specialty store said Tuesday it has attracted new minority investors as sales in the year to Feb. 1 grew 7 percent to 124 million pounds, or $195 million.

Liberty said earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was expected to be more than 17.5 million pounds, or $24.5 million, in the 12 months.

All figures have been calculated at average exchange rates for the 12-month period. Liberty is a private company and the figures provided are unaudited.

The company said that since BlueGem, the London-based midmarket private equity firm, purchased Liberty in 2010, sales have notched a compound annual growth rate of about 16 percent.

“Liberty has demonstrated its ability to show growth and profitability during one of the worst downturns in recent retail history,” said the company’s managing director, Ed Burstell, adding that the store’s offer has appealed both to local and international customers.

Liberty also said it welcomed new minority investors at the end of last year: a consortium that includes “prominent and well-established” international families from Europe and the Middle East.

It said the investors, which Liberty declined to name, are long-term partners that will provide the store with “significant” funds and a “relevant” network in the industry. BlueGem remains the majority investor and will continue to support the management team, the company said.

The retailer added that sales at the London flagship were up 11.2 percent on an underlying basis, with in-store Christmas trading growing in the double digits. Liberty’s online Christmas trading was up 86 percent year-on-year.

Liberty has one flagship, a Tudor revival-style building just off Regent Street, as well as an e-commerce site.

Particular drivers of growth in the 12 months included the fragrance and fine jewelry categories, and brands such as Frédéric Malle, Byredo, Pomellato, Carolina Bucci and Annina Vogel.

Among the fashion and accessories brands that helped to fuel sales were The Row, Givenchy, Victoria Beckham, Valentino, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.

The company added that the two Liberty x Nike collections that were launched in 2013 sold out within 48 hours of going live on Liberty’s Web site. During the year, the store also launched an own-brand accessories collection called Iphis, which a company spokeswoman said has surpassed all expectations in-store and online.

The company said that Liberty Art Fabrics, whose customers include brands such as Vans, Acne, Louis Vuitton, Chloé and Paige denim, grew in established markets and new ones, such as Asia-Pacific, South America and the Middle East. Japan, an established market, grew 11.7 percent in yen terms.

Over the past year, the company collaborated on fabrics with contemporary British artists and illustrators such as Lauren Child, Eleanor Dorrian Smith, Su Blackwell and Justine Smith.