In February 2008 Graphite Capital led the management buy-out of Kurt Geiger, a leading retailer and distributor of footwear. The company had arrangements with UK and international department store chains, under which it managed all aspects of their shoe departments. In addition, the business operated UK high street and airport stores under the Kurt Geiger brand. Further distribution was achieved through the internet and a number of wholesale and licensing agreements in the UK and internationally.
The transaction offered the opportunity to grow both nationally and internationally across all elements of the distribution model. In the UK the business had developed a successful own-store model which could be rolled out to other locations. The category management for department stores offered further scope for growth. Major emphasis was placed on international expansion, both directly and through franchise.
KEY BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENTS
Opened 25 stores in the UK
Won substantial new business with major department store groups, including Selfridges and Debenhams
Expanded its franchise in the Middle East, Turkey and Russia
Developed a sector-leading internet business
More than doubled sales and EBITDA
In 2011 Kurt Geiger was sold for £215 million to The Jones Group Inc, generating a multiple of 2.6 times cost and an IRR of 33.6 per cent.