WP Lavori in Corso sells Woolrich stake as Japanese group Goldwin’s share in US brand grows
Following the announcement last month of the acquisition by Luxembourg investment firm L-Gam of a majority shareholding in Woolrich International, the two companies have now confirmed the operation is complete, after the long-standing Italian partners of the US label, WP Lavori in Corso S.r.l. and WP Holding S.r.l., have disposed of the entire stake they held in Woolrich.
WP Lavori in Corso and WP Holding have had a long-term relationship with Woolrich. WP Lavori in Corso was a licensee for the brand founded in 1830 in Pennsylvania for more than thirty years, and then took full control of Woolrich at the end of 2016. It was the Italian fashion group which enabled Woolrich to make its mark in Europe too, both commercially and from a design point of view, since WP Lavori in Corso was also in charge of style for Woolrich. Bologna-based WP Lavori in Corso has a portfolio of half a dozen urban and sportswear labels, among them Barbour, Palladium and B.D. Baggies.
Besides the arrival of L-Gam as majority shareholder, the redistribution of Woolrich's capital also involved the increase of the stake held by Japanese sportswear group Goldwin Inc., which acquired a minority interest in Woolrich International last year. A joint venture between Woolrich and Goldwin is now on the cards, designed to boost the US brand's presence on Asian markets, beginning with South Korea.
“The partnership with L-Gam, a fund with a longer term investment approach, will ensure the continuity of our headquarters and management, while at the same time enabling us to expand the business, with investments in Europe, North America, Japan and Asia, also thanks to the strategic partnership with Goldwin. Our goal remains to be listed on the stock market within five years,” said Paolo Corinaldesi, CEO of Woolrich International.
The Creative Director of Woolrich, Andrea Canè, instead heralded a change in the outdoor-inspired label’s branding and image, with the goal of winning over Millennials. "It is time to grow our ability to attract customers across all generations, not only in outerwear, but in all the categories of our lifestyle range. We should increasingly appeal to the Millennial generation, which appreciates the values of comfort and durability that have always distinguished our long-established brand.”
Woolrich International was created in 2016 by the merger of Woolrich Inc. and Woolrich Europe. In the 2017 financial year, it recorded a revenue of €180 million. The label operates 32 monobrand stores worldwide. The latest was inaugurated in Tokyo, and new stores are expected to open shortly in Rome and New York.
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