Bregal Freshstream acquires Radley

Third investment since launching its €600m fund in September 2015
Bregal Freshstream today announces it has acquired Radley, the well-known British handbag and accessories brand.

Founded in 1998, Radley is now the leading British handbag and accessories brand in the rapidly growing affordable luxury market with a multi-channel business and established distribution network covering the UK, Europe and Asia. Since 2007, the business has been majority owned by Exponent Private Equity.

Following the deal, veteran retailer Don McCarthy will join the business as Chairman. Don is an entrepreneur with over 40 years’ experience in investing, operating and controlling many high street names. He has previously held the position of Executive Chairman at House of Fraser and Chairman of Aurum Holdings which includes Watches of Switzerland, Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths. As CEO and Chairman of Rubicon Retail Ltd, he established a multi-branded footwear and fashion organisation before selling the whole company in 2006.

Don will work with CEO Justin Stead who has a proven and very successful track record of building shareholder value for businesses on a global basis. The Group’s recent progress has seen Radley establish a significant presence in the UK with 33 stores and eight concessions in key cities and retail centres alongside a presence in 33 John Lewis stores, 58 branches of House of Fraser and over 200 other department stores and independent shops nationwide. The Group also has a strong eCommerce offering with dedicated websites for the UK, German and Japanese markets.

The business generates just over 10% of its total sales outside of the UK, predominantly via distributors in Germany and Japan and, of the c90% UK sales, some 10-15% are to non-British customers visiting its UK stores.

Radley is ideally positioned in the affordable luxury segment of the global luxury goods market, which was worth £161bn in 2014, with a major presence in the handbag segment, the fastest growing segment of this market. The UK handbag market alone was worth £1.6bn in 2015 and has grown at a CAGR of 7% since 2011.

This investment from Bregal Freshstream will look to further grow Radley’s business both in the UK and overseas, with significant potential to build upon the brand’s international appeal.

This deal marks the third investment by Bregal Freshstream following its successful investments in infrastructure contractor Taziker Industrial in March 2016 and Belgian self-service restaurant chain Lunch Garden in December 2015.

Commenting on the investment, Freshstream’s Managing Partner Patrick Smulders said “Radley is a well-known and cherished British brand with beautiful products, an excellent management team and a strong financial track record. We see significant opportunity for the Group to build on its international appeal and are delighted to have the combination of Don and Justin working together again – they have an outstanding track record of success. Alongside the existing Radley team, we see this as an exciting new stage of the company’s development.”

CEO of Radley, Justin Stead commented “We have enjoyed a strong period of growth in recent years and see huge potential for the business to build on the momentum we have generated to date. We have a loyal, and growing, customer base plus a very clear vision and strategic plan to grow the business that will see us pursue further UK expansion and international growth. The Freshstream team really understands our brand, our culture and our plans for the future so I am really looking forward to working with both them and Don to make these plans a reality.”

Don McCarthy, incoming Chairman, added “I am delighted to be joining such a well-known brand at such an exciting stage of its development. Justin and his team have worked hard to build Radley into a brand that is synonymous with high quality design and workmanship so, with Freshstream’s backing, I am confident that we can all help the Group to capitalise on its enormous potential.”