Asians interested in quintessential British retailer?

Over the last few months, retailers have continued to feel the pain of the economic downturn with one after another of our high street retailers turning in poor results or being completely beaten by the economy and appointing the receivers to try to sell the remnants of the business.  Big names such as La Senza, Blacks, Ethel Austin and Bon Marche have gone in to administration and into the hands of the receivers to try to sell assets or the business as a going concern. Only last week, Games Group announced that they were no longer able to continue trading, although over the weekend it was stated that Opcapita, the investment firm that specialises in retail companies, would more than likely be the company’s new owner.

None of the struggling UK retailers have attracted that much interest from Asian buyers thus far. Given Asian interest in high end brands and labels as opposed to the more mundane world of computer games, underwear and outdoor clothing, this isn’t really surprising. However, if newspaper reports are correct, this could be about to change. Aquascutum, the high end, upmarket retailer of British clothing, has reportedly been put up for sale. Aquascutum was acquired in 2009 by Broadwick, an investment vehicle owned by Harold Tilman, the man behind the fashion brand Jaeger, from Renown, the Japanese listed textile business.

At this point the usual suspects of private equity are supposedly interested, as is the Hong Kong based company, YGM Trading, which owns the rights to Aquascutum in Asia.

Filed under: private equity, retail, UK, Asia