Mar 29, 2016
Britain’s Whistles now part of South African fashion retailer Foschini Group
Mar 29, 2016
South African fashion retailer The Foschini Group (TFGJ.J) has said that it has acquired all the shares in British high street chain Whistles for an undisclosed sum.
Foschini, which last year bought clothing, footwear and accessories retailer Phase Eight, said in a statement it has acquired Whistles' 46 stores and online retail business through its British unit.
Since the launch of Whistles as a women’s fashion brand in 1976 by husband-and-wife team Richard and Lucille Lewin, its fortunes have fluctuated. It was in the doldrums and perceived as frumpy in 2008 when Jane Shepherdson, formerly of Topshop, joined as chief executive with a 20 per cent stake.
Shepherdson has kept her stake and will continue to run the business after the sale. Peter Davies, chairman of Whistles since 2008 and the former chairman of shoe retailer Clarks, has sold his stake.
South African fashion retailers have been hunting for takeovers abroad as a weakening rand gnaws away at the profits they make from imported clothing. Woolworths bought Australian department store David Jones two years ago and Truworths acquired an 89 per cent stake in footwear seller Office Retail Group last year.
Whistles also stocks its wares at department stores such as Harrods and Bloomingdales, and in 2014 started a menswear line.
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