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Taking Stock: Shoe Carnival Pops... Lanvin's Investor...

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LANVIN’S MINORITY INVESTOR: Lanvin is about to add more fuel to its global expansion drive. Footwear News learned last week that the French fashion house has sold a minority stake to an investor in exchange for a capital injection estimated in the tens of millions of euros. The identity of the investor could not immediately be learned, but it is understood to be a European family holding company with a long-term horizon and no exit strategy. It acquired a nearly 13 percent stake in Arpège SAS, the holding company for Lanvin. “The company is really healthy. We only need to accelerate,” said Thierry Andretta, the French fashion house’s EVP. “We will be looking worldwide for great opportunities.” He declined to name the investor, while characterizing it as being in sync with Lanvin’s “human scale” organization and familial management style. The proceeds will be used to help Lanvin expand its retail network and deepen its commercial footprint, leveraging the design prowess and buzz of its acclaimed creative director, Alber Elbaz, Andretta said. Finalized last Tuesday, the deal ends a long, under-the-radar quest by Lanvin’s majority owner, Shaw-Lan Wang, to find a silent partner willing to help her take the company to the next level in an industry increasingly dominated by giant players. Last year, sales at Lanvin rose 29 percent to 140.4 million euros, or $206.6 million at average exchange rates. The company recently said revenues would likely ebb slightly in 2009, but that it would resume its double-digit growth track next year. At present, Lanvin operates 19 company-owned boutiques and 21 franchises. — MILES SOCHA
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