In January 2003 Graphite Capital led the £60 million management buy-out of Jane Norman from the Freed family who had founded the business. Jane Norman was a fast-growing chain of women’s fashion retail stores and concessions. Its clothing and accessories were targeted at the 15-25 age group. We backed an exceptionally experienced chief executive with strong expertise across all key areas of this fast-growing retail business.
The business generated high sales per square foot from its relatively small base of existing stores, making it highly suitable for nationwide retail roll-out, both through freestanding stores and in department store concessions. We were also attracted to Jane Norman’s efficient supply chain which minimised lead times and allowed mid-season range adjustments where necessary. The company had exceptionally high stock turns and sales densities.
Key Business Achievements
Accelerated the roll-out of retail stores
Solidified its relationship with Debenhams, the company’s major concession partner
Strengthened the buying team to reduce the dependence on the CEO
Broadened the product range to include a range of additional clothing items and accessories
Grew turnover and profit significantly as the number of outlets doubled to 96
Internal Rate of Return
In 2005 Jane Norman was sold for £117 million to Baugur, generating a multiple of 2.9 times cost and an IRR of over 50 per cent.