Myer rethinks Sass & Bide disposal as sales improve

News this summer that struggling Australian department store chain Myer was looking to sell its designer label Sass & Bide, appears to have been premature with a report on Friday that the company has called off its plans.


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Sass & Bide - Fall-Winter2018 - Womenswear - Sydney


It had reportedly hired advisors from Flagstaff to test buyer appetite but has now decided to keep the brand, The Australian reported. The newspaper added said that the Marcs and David Lawrence labels are also not up for sale.

While there have been suggestions that buyer interest in Sass & Bide was weak, the retailer said that the opposite was true, but that the label’s improved performance made it worth retaining.

Myer bought a 65% stake in the brand seven years ago for A$42 million and later bought the remaining stake from founders Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton for around A$30m.

The potential sale of the business had come as still-new CEO John King works to drive a turnaround at the chain. The ex-House of Fraser CEO has a strong track record and is credited with having rescued that UK business 12 years ago, although as we know, its long-term decline continued after he left.

Australian department stores have not been immune to the devastation that has been affecting this particular retail channel in many major markets. Both Myer and more upscale rival David Jones have suffered as they realised only slowly the importance of the online channel and as dynamic international retailers moved into their market, both digitally and physically.

Myer’s attempt to capitalise on the arrival of such retailers backfired when its link-up with Topshop hit the rocks and it booked a major loss on that business.

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