With other private investors, Closed’s Hans Redlefsen, Til Nadler and Gordon Giers are upping their stake in the company by buying back all shares from the private investment firm Genui after nearly a five-year partnership. Together the two entities developed a long-term strategy that helped Closed to generate more than $112.1 million in sales.
The new setup isn’t a matter of giving Closed executives the chance to do things they haven’t been able to agree on in the past five years, according to Closed’s head of marketing and communications Gro Hjördis Pflughaupt. “It’s not as though we have been waiting for this day to change loads. Of course, generally, it’s like taking back a risk in some way,” she said. “I have to say Genui has been a pretty great partner that has a good understanding for what we do.”
Building international sales, which has been a focus with Genui, will only be amplified especially in the U.S. and southern Europe including France where it has had a presence for years. For the past two seasons, Closed has sold at Shopbop and Bergdorf Goodman, and Nordstrom will added next season. The brand is now sold at Merci in France, and it recently opened a pop-up at Printemps. All of Closed’s product and marketing strategies are aimed at the premium contemporary sector, Pflughaupt said.
The socially responsible-minded brand was started by François Girbaud who is credited with developing the stonewashed technique, which was big in the Eighties. Although he is no longer involved with the company, he collaborated on a revival collection over three seasons for Closed’s 30th anniversary.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Started in 1978, the family-owned Closed is based in Germany but it specializes in jeans handmade in Italy. Closed has 50 freestanding stores and more than 1,200 wholesale partners in 32 countries. The company is cautious about store openings in order to create “a healthy balance” with its distribution channels, according to press material regarding the buyback. While not an eco-label, Closed does not process any down or fur. It only works with mohair suppliers that belong to Mohair South Africa. The company also has a Code of Conduct that partners must sign biannually that has strict requirements regarding the use of chemical substances.
To try to build digital sales consistently, the company has planned select store openings accordingly and has collaborated with fashion retailers and department stores. As of now, online sales are outpacing the market, both via Closed’s online store and select international e-tailers.
Founded by a group of entrepreneurs and investment specialists, Genui is know for what it calls “Good Entrepreneurship.” That amounts to making a long-range commitment to helping companies attain sustainable growth and greater social value. To try to reach that, an active shareholder is put in place partially to connect executives with knowledgeable entrepreneurs and a network as part of their professional governance. To help with the transition, Genui’s Detlev Meyer will remain on Closed’s advisory board after the transaction.
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