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Jigsaw could go upmarket as £27m bid emerges

Jigsaw is the target of a potential £27 million takeover bid. The women’s fashion retailer, owned by parent company Robinson Webster, has received the indicative offer from little-known investor Henrik Madsen.

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Jigsaw

Madsen, who runs retail and brand consultancy HMJ International, is seeking investor backing for his plan to move Jigsaw upmarket, expand its online potential and grow its licensing arm, a report in the Sunday Times has claimed.

But sources close to Jigsaw said a sale process has not begun and questioned whether Madsen, who was formerly with outlet retail group McArthurGlen, would be able to fund the deal. Madsen and Jigsaw haven’t commented so far.

If the takeover does happen, it will be interesting to see Jigsaw taken further into the premium market. We’ve already seen from a number of France-based names such as Sandro, the Kooples and Zadig & Voltaire, how much potential there is in the premium fashion category. 

It’s an area currently not that well exploited by UK fashion companies and with the devastation that’s been seen in the mass-market following the Arcadia demise, plus consumers in some cases turning away from fast fashion, it could mean a huge opportunity for a revamped Jigsaw.

The brand, which had been struggling before the pandemic struck, was refinanced several years ago by director David Ross and Jigsaw’s co-founder John Robinson. As part of its turnaround strategy, it appointed former Karen Millen boss Beth Butterwick to run the business.

But when the pandemic hit, the company was forced to shut almost half its stores via a creditor-approved voluntary arrangement. The remaining 41 stores moved on to turnover-based rental agreements.

Although there have been no trading numbers issued since February 2020, a source close to the company told the newspaper that recent trading had been good and it was in a stronger position. Just last month, Jigsaw relocated its King’s Road, London, store to a new 2,150 square feet space offering an “intimate shopping destination”.

In the 70 weeks to 1 February last year, Jigsaw had reported a pre-tax loss of £7.5 million on sales of £128.9 million, noting it lost around £31 million worth of sales due to closures. However, around 60% of its sales were digital.

In May, a company spokesman told Fashion Network that “progress was being made prior to the pandemic to improve the company’s profitability, and Jigsaw remains focused on its strategic agenda during the current challenging conditions.

“Due to a further restructuring of the business, and a renewed focus on its core product offer, the company is in a better place to capitalise on future success.”

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