Palladin Consumer Retail Partners has taken a majority investment in men’s luxury footwear firm Harrys of London for an undisclosed amount.
This story first appeared in the October 22, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The existing senior management team led by Marty Wikstrom, chairman, and creative director Kevin Martel will continue to be significant shareholders of the company. Jennifer Moores, a founding shareholder, is also participating in the investment.
Wikstrom said, “The Palladin team brings a wealth of experience in footwear and growing consumer brands. Their expertise, support and leadership will provide creative insights and operational improvements that will be instrumental in capitalizing on the strength of the Harrys of London brand as we bring the company to the next level of development.”
Mark Schwartz, chief executive officer of Palladin, said, “Harrys is a great brand that combines old-world techniques in footwear with the latest in technology, making the shoes more comfortable and much more wearable. The shoes are handmade with the technology that men have come to expect.”
Schwartz said the plan is to eventually open standalone stores in the U.S., as well as expand wholesale doors and include a women’s footwear line down the road. The company currently sells bags, briefcases and accessories for men, and will eventually have small leather goods and handbags for women as well.
Palladin in June made a similar controlling investment in Aerosoles. Schwartz said the investment firm has an “affinity for footwear, and has been looking for the right men’s platform to complement the other holdings in its portfolio. At Aerosoles, we’re expanding styles, technology and comfort. It’s more moderate than Harrys, which is a higher-end luxury brand….We think Harrys is the right platform for [the] men’s [footwear category].”
The brand is sold in 20 countries. In the U.S., it is carried in select department stores and specialty doors, and online. There are three freestanding stores in the U.K., as well as two stores each in Kuwait and Japan and one store in Dubai.
Palladin is a private equity firm. Other current and former investments in the fashion space separate from Aerosoles include Nic + Zoe, J. McLaughlin and Andrew Marc.