The Shoe Studio Group, one of the largest and most dynamic shoe retailers in the UK, has brought in an interesting new investor, the Baugur group from Iceland. The move which may be designed to improve their chances to take over another big British shoe retailer, Faith, which has been up for sale for some time, but they are apparently not in a hurry.
According to a British press report, Baugur has acquired a 20 percent stake in SSG, with an option on a further 10 percent stake. A statement from SSG says Baugur and two financial investors, Katia Invstments and Landsbanki, acquired a stake in the company but Don McCarthy, chairman and CEO, is still in control. Baugur owns The Oasis Group, a big British chain of young fashion stores, and bought the more upscale Karen Millen apparel chain a few weeks ago.
SSG operates nearly 260 outlets in the UK, including some 200 concessions, under 7 different banners including Bertie, Pied a Terre, Nine West and Kenneth Cole. It recently signed a footwear contract with the Debenhams retail group. Occupying good locations and specializing in affordable young fashion shoes, Faith would represent a nice complement to SSG’s network of stores and concessions, which reportedly generated sales of £145 million (e220m-$266m) last year. About 80 percent came from its department store business.