LONDON — British retailers are rising, falling — and consolidating — in an increasingly brutal marketplace.
Boohoo.com, the online fast-fashion retailer, said it has purchased the brand and intellectual property assets of the ailing online fashion site MissPap. Founded in 2015, MissPap wants its customers to be “always selfie-ready,” and offered clothing inspired by the catwalk, the street and celebrities.
MissPap says its Instagram account has 1 million followers, including influencers and reality stars. In the U.K., to get “papped” means to be snapped by paparazzi, and the brand promotes itself on Instagram with the hashtag #MissPapped.
The debt-ridden company had planned to appoint a liquidator before Boohoo swept in to purchase the brand name and intellectual property assets.
John Lyttle, chief executive officer of Boohoo Group plc, said the MissPap brand has “great potential. This acquisition further strengthens our multibrand platform, representing an exciting opportunity to accelerate our offer to our ever-growing range of customers globally.”
Boohoo Group is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and owns PrettyLittleThing and Nasty Gal. The company says its aim is to dominate the fashion e-commerce market for 16- to 30-year-olds. The group said it sells to more than 11 million customer accounts across all of its brands.
Sofie Willmott, senior retail analyst at GlobalData, a data and analytics company, said Boohoo’s acquisition of MissPap will give the retailer another vehicle to drive rapid growth.
“It is vital that young fashion brands offer shoppers a unique proposition. Both Boohoo.com and PrettyLittleThing have carved out a strong reputation for striking, ‘going-out’ clothing so there is an opportunity for MissPap to become the group’s destination for casual wear, stealing share from young fashion specialists that are failing to entice shoppers,” she added.
MissPap is not the only fashion retailer to have run into trouble of late.
Just two years after securing 11 million pounds in investment from the private equity firm Rockpool Investments, men’s contemporary label Pretty Green is preparing to go into administration, the U.K. equivalent of Chapter 11.
Launched in 2009, Pretty Green was founded by former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, who remains the largest shareholder. The collections took their cue from British fashion and music cultures, with pieces such as parkas and Harrington jackets.
The brand has a flagship on Carnaby Street in London and a string of stores and concessions globally. According to the latest figures published on Companies House, the official register of U.K. businesses, Pretty Green posted revenues of 38.2 million pounds and a loss of 1.5 million pounds in the 16 months ended Jan. 28, 2018.
Revenues nearly doubled in the 16-month period while losses narrowed from 5.6 million pounds in the previous year. Since then, however, the Pretty Green business, along with others, has been hit by the collapse of House of Fraser, where it had a number of concessions, and by the overall retail slowdown on the high street.
“We were particularly impressed with the brand’s ability to broaden its appeal to a wide base of music and fashion fans. We are excited to have the opportunity to support the Pretty Green team as they continue to develop the brand,” Rockpool said at the time of its investment, adding that it wanted to grow the business in the U.K. and globally.
A spokesperson for Rockpool declined to comment on the fate of Pretty Green.
According to Sky News report, Pretty Green is set to appoint administrators Moorfields Advisory this week to handle an insolvency process. Moorfields has not responded to a request for comment. Filings at Companies House show that two of Pretty Green’s directors, Simon Rendell and Matthew Emerson, have left since the start of the year.