Jane Shepherdson, the former Topshop brand director, has concluded a deal with Baugur to purchase Whistles from Mosaic Fashions with immediate effect.
Ms Shepherdson, who becomes CEO, will be joined by Keith Wilks as finance director, and Jo Farrelly as marketing director, to take over the running of the Whistles business through a management buy-in. Both Keith and Jo worked with Jane at Topshop.
As a result, Whistles is to be separated from Mosaic Fashions through an acquisition by a newly formed company, in which Shepherdson and her team have part ownership. Baugur is the lead shareholder and Glitnir Bank is also an investor.
Jane Shepherdson comments: “This is a very exciting venture. I am thrilled to be taking over such an established British brand with enormous potential. I look forward to drawing on the brand’s heritage and developing it into an exciting and stimulating collection and store environment. We see a great opportunity to create something unique for the woman who loves great design, isn’t scared of a little edginess and who wants to reference but not slavishly follow trends.”
Gunnar Sigurdsson, chief executive of Baugur, said: “We are delighted to invest in the business with Jane and her team. Whistles is a fantastic brand with a great potential and with the talent and experience that Jane and her team bring, we have no doubt that they will take advantage of the solid foundation that has already been built and drive Whistles to new heights.”
Derek Lovelock, chief executive of Mosaic Fashions, said: “Whistles is a great brand which has grown strongly under the leadership of Amanda Burrows and her team. However, given Mosaic’s strategy to build scaleable international brands we believe that Jane and her team will have the focus and resources to take Whistles to its next level.”
Ms Shepherdson is widely credited with having revolutionised Topshop, turning it into a critical and commercial success. Since her departure, she has advised a number of non-profit organisations on their fashion strategies including People Tree – a fair-trade & ethical clothing brand – and Oxfam. She has also been supporting a number of young fashion designer initiatives including the Centre for Fashion Excellence and was awarded an MBE in December 2006 for her services to the British Fashion industry.
Kinmont acted as financial advisor to the management and Glitnir Bank was advisor to the new company. The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
Whistles was created by Lucille Lewin in the 80s, and became known for offering exciting designers as well as a focused own buy collection. Acquired by Mosaic Fashions in 2004, it currently has over 40 solus sites across the UK with another 40 concessions in department stores. More recently, Whistles launched an online store to broaden its reach into the international market.
New Management Team is:
Jane Shepherdson, CEO, former Topshop brand director from 1998 to end 2006. During her tenure at Topshop, Jane received many industry accolades including Retailer of the Year and last year was awarded an MBE for her services to the British Fashion industry.
Jo Farrelly, former Topshop marketing director, is appointed as Whistles marketing director. Following a career in marketing at Levi Strauss Europe, Jo joined Topshop as marketing director overseeing marketing & PR from 2000 to 2007.
Keith Wilks, former Topshop finance director from 2001 to 2007, is appointed as Whistles finance director
Mosaic Fashions is the parent company of eight successful design led fashion brands; Anoushka G, Coast, Karen Millen, Oasis, Odille, Principles, Shoe Studio and Warehouse. It operates 1,809 stores and concessions, mainly in the UK and Ireland, but also in the rest of Europe and the USA. It has 225 franchise stores in 32 countries worldwide, and 72 department store concessions in China through a joint venture. The group employs over 13,000 employees.
Baugur Group is an international investment company focusing on investments within the fields of retail, financial investments and media in
Iceland, the UK, and Scandinavia. Companies related to Baugur Group employ some 75,000 people worldwide in over 3,900 stores with a total turnover of £9.8 billion.
The CEO of Baugur Group is Gunnar Sigurðsson and the Executive Chairman is Jón Ásgeir Jóhannesson.
Among Baugur’s principal retail investments are the supermarket chain Iceland, the toy retailer Hamleys, Woodward Foodservice, the jewellery chain Goldsmiths, fashion chains MK One and Jane Norman, the health products chain Julian Graves, fashion company Mosaic Fashions, renowned UK department store chain, House of Fraser, Hagar, Iceland’s largest retailer, the famous Danish department store chain Magasin du Nord, and Illum, one of Denmark’s largest department stores. Baugur also has a substantial, but non-controlling, indirect stake in the AIM-listed wholesaler Booker Group.
Baugur’s main investments within the Media & Technology division are the media company 365 and the electronic communications and IT company Teymi. Baugur Group is also a major shareholder in the Icelandic investment company FL Group.
More information can be found at www.baugurgroup.com
For more information:
Marketing Director Whistles
Gavin Anderson & Company
020 7554 1400
020 7518 0985