Chanel buys British men’s swimwear label Orlebar Brown
A few days after acquiring a 20% stake in the F.P. Journe watch brand, Chanel set a new industry in its sights, and bought British high-end men’s swimwear and board shorts label Orlebar Brown. The purchase, whose worth has not been disclosed, was made from the label’s founder Adam Brown, the Piper investment fund and a few minority shareholders.
“Besides the fact that we share the same values and the same approach towards quality and know-how, this acquisition offers an ideal opportunity for synergies between Orlebar Brown and Eres,” said Philippe Blondiaux, Chanel’s global CFO. Orlebar Brown’s acquisition does in fact provide a men’s counterpart to Eres, the lingerie and women’s swimwear label bought by the Chanel group in 1996.
As a digital native business, Orlebar Brown could enable Eres to boost its digital expertise and optimise its omni-channel distribution strategy. Orlebar Brown can instead “benefit from the retail experience and know-how of a long-established player in the high-end beachwear segment,” said Blondiaux.
Adam Brown, who founded Orlebar Brown in London in 2007, will continue to act as the brand’s creative director, alongside CEO Paul Donoghue. Orlebar Brown was actually launched as an online brand eleven years ago, and 40% of its current sales is generated via its e-tail site. The label then went on to create a brick-and-mortar network of 24 directly owned stores in 11 countries, and is also available at over 250 specialised retailers.
Orlebar Brown has 129 employees and its headquarters are located in London. Under Chanel’s aegis, it will continue to pursue its digital strategy and to expand internationally, opening new stores in the USA, Europe and Asia.
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