LONDON — A&G Group, parent of luxury brands Asprey and Garrard, has hired Citigroup to help find investors for its international rollout program.
The plan foresees the opening of 15 new units — a mix of Asprey and Garrard stores — around the world this year.
As reported in April, A&G said it would use the proceeds from the sale of its Bond Street flagship — about $101 million — to fund the expansion. However, that cash pile no longer appears sufficient. An A&G spokeswoman, who confirmed a report regarding Citibank’s appointment in London’s Mail on Sunday, added that A&G was growing more rapidly than expected, and needed the extra investment.
She declined to give further details.
A&G took advantage of London’s soaring commercial property market and sold Asprey’s Bond Street store to Quinlan Private, the Irish property group. The current building has been handed back to A&G Group on a long-term lease that will last for at least 25 years.
Although sales rose 59 percent to $51 million from $32 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, A&G remains a hungry beast in terms of capital, and the principals say brand-building takes time.
“This is an endurance race, not a sprint. Will we win the endurance race? I don’t know. But we certainly haven’t entered the sprint race,” Lawrence Stroll, the shareholder of reference, along with Silas Chou, told WWD earlier this year.
Stroll added that he and his partners, who include Edgar Bronfman Jr., Morgan Stanley Capital and the Luxembourg-based TAG Group, are “absolutely committed” to the A&G business in the long run.
With regard to the retail expansion, 10 Asprey stores are set to open in 2005, along with five Garrard stores. Next month, Asprey will roll out 50-ml. and 100-ml. bottles of its fragrance, Purple Water, and the brand also has begun to sell at travel retail on British Airways.