Nature of Business
Hobbs is a contemporary British fashion designer and retailer of women’s apparel, shoes and accessories, operating at the premium end of the UK high street. The brand has a trilogy of distinct labels to address identified customer types and occasions: Hobbs London, which is confidently stylish; NW3 by Hobbs, which is quirky, cool and on-trend; and Hobbs Invitation, launched in Spring 2012, a year round occasion collection delivering sophisticated glamour.
Founded in 1981, Hobbs employs over 1,000 people and has over 140 stores and concessions in the UK and Ireland, with a fast growing online business selling into Europe, North America and Asia.
We led the buyout of Hobbs in 2004 after building a strong working relationship with management, who selected us because of our enthusiasm, international footprint and retail sector expertise. Since our investment, Hobbs has grown significantly and has delivered a number of exciting and transformational initiatives. These include providing the platform for further significant growth through supply chain capability and head office functions, with a new headquarters in London’s premium retail district. We have further strengthened the management team since our investment including leveraging our Business Leaders Network to appoint Iain MacRitchie as Chairman.
Hobbs’ ambition is to significantly increase its market share in the UK, based on in-depth customer insight, through a multi channel and multi brand strategy and to build upon its success in the UK to develop a strong international presence.
In January 2011, we invested a further £13.3m to support the growth of the Hobbs brands. Since then the business has achieved over 10% p.a. sales increase on the back of a substantial, multichannel investment programme.
Hobbs has demonstrated its strength as a credible and trusted high street retailer, continuing to deliver robust profits through the economic downturn, and growing its topline through targeted initiatives. It is increasingly proving its designer and brand credentials to facilitate its growth ambitions and has the management team in place to deliver against these objectives.
Regulatory notice: This transaction involved a recommendation of 3i Investments plc.
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