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Labelux Thinks Big With Jimmy Choo

Company bullish on newest acquisition, plans for more growth.

Joshua Schulman and Tamara Mellon

Joshua Schulman and Tamara Mellon

Photo By Thomas Iannaccone

A day after Labelux Group inked a deal for Jimmy Choo, CEO Reinhard Mieck said the firm will continue to expand its luxury portfolio — and adding more brands in the footwear space is definitely part of the plan.

“We want to extend further and build a sizeable luxury group,” Mieck said Monday from Milan. “But the key is to take our time ... we’re not in a hurry.”

As for Jimmy Choo, “We’re super delighted,” Mieck said. “It’s been an intense few weeks.”

And Labelux — Jimmy Choo’s first non-private equity owner in 10 years — is ready to take the brand to the next level, he said.

“I don’t see any limits,” Mieck said.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but some press reports said the deal, signed on Sunday in London, was valued at nearly $900 million. TowerBrook purchased Jimmy Choo in 2007 for $364 million.

He praised Jimmy Choo’s management duo, CEO Joshua Schulman and founder and chief creative officer Tamara Mellon, for combining creativity with commerciality, while achieving “financial excellence.”

“They have been absolutely instrumental in the success of the brand,” Mieck said.

Moving forward, the new team plans to forge ahead with both geographic and category expansion at Jimmy Choo.

Asia, where Labelux’s Bally brand has carved out a strong presence, is one priority.

“If one brand has certain expertise, we want to use it to benefit others [in the portfolio],” Mieck said.

Jimmy Choo has already made several notable moves to boost its Asian business. Earlier this year, it took control of all its operations in Japan, which had been run as a joint venture there. Hong Kong has also been a particularly strong market of late, Schulman said in an interview on Sunday, and the firm is just getting started in mainland China.

Under Labelux, Choo will also look to tap into opportunities in the established European and U.S. markets, where several new retail initiatives are in the works. Jimmy Choo currently has 120 stores.

The brand also plans to expand further beyond the footwear business.

“Our core will always be women's shoes, but Tamara's focus is much broader,” Schulman said. “Her vision is for a full lifestyle brand."

The new men's footwear collection will hit stores next month. The company has been growing its handbag business and launched Choo 24:7 handbags this year to solid success. And the recent fragrance launch has “performed far beyond expectations,” Schulman said.

Regarding the union with Labelux, Schulman said it was a “perfect fit.”

“Labelux is really complementary to Jimmy Choo with its focus on luxury fashion, accessories and jewelry,” Schulman said. The deal comes as the luxury market continues to rebound, with accessories showing particular strength.

“Ladies shoes and handbags are growing faster than the rest of the luxury market,” Mieck said.

The accessories market has been the focus for Labelux since it was formed in 2007.

In addition to Bally and Jimmy Choo, the group owns New York-based apparel label Derek Lam, London-based jeweller Solange Azagury-Partridge and Italian accessories brand Zagliani.

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