Urban Outfitters are considering a future partnership with Australian activewear retailer Lorna Jane. The fashion brand is participating in the Credit Suisse-run auction for ownership, and is in the “late second round”. Lorna Jane has a price tag of around $500 million. Footlocker are said to also be in the running.
Fitness instructor Lorna Jane Clarkson founded Lorna Jane in 1990, and she serves as current creative director while her husband Bill is CEO. They broke into the US with a store in California in 2012, and now have 23 branches in the state. They could help boost the active business at Urban, which is currently not well developed. CEO of Urban Richard Hayne said:
“We have discussed our intention to continue to expand product choices and categories and to enter adjacent businesses. By doing so, we look to attract new customers and expand the share of wallet each brand captures with existing customers. We will accomplish this expansion through a combination of internal development and external relationships. These relationships may include licensing, partnerships, joint ventures and acquisitions".
Urban’s portfolio currently contains Anthropologie, Free People, BHLDN and Terrain, and they are always looking out for businesses that “have a similar customer profile to one of our existing brands, have a management team that will augment or complement our existing expertise and those that offer strong growth opportunities.”
Lorna Jane helped fund the US expansion by selling its stake in Australian private equity firm Champ Ventures. They are considering the move carefully, saying “we are not putting too much pressure on ourselves, that is why we are not opening massive stores in New York,” Clarkson said upon entering the U.S. “We are going in like a small business. We want every single store to be profitable.”
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