Jones Group put on Kurt Geiger heels for £213m

Monday, 06 June 2011
Jones Group Inc said it had acquired upscale British shoe retailer Kurt Geiger from private equity firm Graphite Capital. The modern Cinderella group will put on the British coveted shoes for £213m. According to a statement issued by the U.S. fashion giant - that manages 35 brands including Nine West and Stuart Weitzman, this operation chases an increase in its foothold in the international luxury market. The deal has been sealed for about $350 million (213 million pounds) including assumption of debt, Jones Group said.

Kurt Geiger, the Austrian entrepreneur who originally founded the retail chain that bears his namesake, opened his first store in London's West End in 1963. The Jones Group said owning Kurt Geiger will increase its international presence to just below 20 percent of overall sales.

The bespoke footwear label had sales of about $332 million for the year ended on April 30. Details from the acquisition transcended, letting the industry know how it will let Jones gain inroads into the designer footwear business through Kurt Geiger's portfolio of high-end brands and presence in leading department stores, such as Harrods and Selfridges, the companies said.

Neil Clifford, who will continue as Kurt Geiger chief executive, told The Independent: “America, in particular, is something we are very excited about in terms of opening stores in the major cities of the US in the next 12 to 18 months. I would be disappointed if it was not next year. The American market is a tough market to crack if you do it on your own. So to have a bit of a grown-up uncle to do that is a good thing.”

Kurt Geiger, which sells more than 100 brands from Gucci to Ugg also has its own-labels including Kurt Geiger, KG, Carvela and Miss KG.

The deal is expected to immediately add to earnings per share, Jones Group said. Jones shares rose 1 percent on Thursday before the bell. They closed at $11.75 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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