By Karen Roe [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Crew, a British lifestyle clothing brand, has been sold by Livingbridge, its founder and private equity firm to Exquisite Apparel.
However, Crew will be advancing under a new image, as the chief executive who was brought in by Livingbridge in order to develop the brand, Louise Barnes, has resigned following the sale. Barnes attempted to lead a management buyout. However, it was outbid by Exquisite.
Livingbridge credited Barnes “and her management team” in a statement with “successfully sharpening the brand positioning, updating the product range, and overhauling the retail and e-commerce channels.”
The company refused to comment on the departure of Barnes. However, a spokesperson stated: “Crew is a high-quality asset, and there were several attractive offers made for the business.”
In a statement, Bevan Duncan stated: “We have really enjoyed working with Crew and look forward to seeing the next stage in its growth story. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Louise Barnes and her team for their dedication to Crew and the work she has led in reinvigorating and strengthening the brand.”
In 2006, Livingbridge invested in Crew. The company’s annual revenues are now almost £60m. Last year, the brand generated earnings before deductions amounting to £2.7m, and in October, like-for-like sales grew seven percent.
Crew was established in 1993 by Alastair Parker-Swift near a windsurfing school in Salcombe, Devon. It currently has over 80 stores. Parker-Swift will proceed to work with the business under its new ownership.
Not much is known regarding the mysterious Exquisite Apparel, which has little online presence. According to Retail Week, a trade publication, the company is fronted by Michael Shina, and it produces branded clothing including Tommy Hilfiger under licence for Walmart.