Australia's Ginger & Smart sells majority stake, eyes U.S. market
Australian luxury brand Ginger & Smart has relinquished a majority stake to private equity investment firm Alceon Retail Group, as the ethical fashion label rejigs its company name to become ARG Ginger & Smart.
The total purchase amount for the 50-plus percent stake by Alceon Retail Group was not disclosed. The label's sister-duo founders, Alexandra and Genevieve Smart, will remain as managing director and creative director of their namesake brand, respectively.
The funds received from the stake will see Ginger & Smart open eight to 15 new Australian stores, as well as more concessions in local luxury department store major David Jones. The designer label will also ramp up its e-commerce strategy and home in on new global markets, namely the U.S.
In a report by the Australian Financial Review, Alceon Retail plans to help Ginger & Smart reduce operating costs such as IT, utilities and parcel delivery. It will also fund investment in stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, expand its diffusion label Akin, and pursue U.S. expansion, with plans to develop wholesale partnerships with department stores Nordstrom or Bloomingdales.
Known for its ability to invest in and turnaround struggling Australian fashion brands, Alceon’s portfolio includes Noni B, Specialty Fashion Group’s Katies, Millers, Autograph, Crossroads and Rivers brands, as well as EziBuy and online surfwear retailer SurfStitch.
Alceon Retail is owned by Alceon Group, a private investment company established a decade ago by Trevor Loewensohn, Phil Green andMorris Symonds.
Founded in 2002, Ginger & Smart has three standalone stores in Australia and is sold through David Jones, Global Fashion Group's The Iconic and a number of retail boutiques around Australia. The brand is also accredited to Ethical Clothing Australia.
Ginger & Smart sales are expected rise from just under $10 million to between $30 million and $50 million in the next few years, according to AFR.
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