Shoe Zone and Edinburgh Woollen Mill in race to buy UK's Brantano
The big news in recent weeks has been all about who will buy struggling Jones Bootmaker from Alteri. But today it seems that the private equity investor’s other footwear business, Brantano, is also a bid target.
Sky News reported that either listed retailer Shoe Zone or privately-held Edinburgh Woollen Mill could snap up the chain as early as this week.
Alteri acquired Brantano in 2015, at the same time as Jones, and until last week looked like it was committed to continuing with it, despite putting a for sale sign on Jones. But it has emerged that the company filed a notice of intention to put both the businesses into administration, rather than just Jones as had been expected, buying it more time to talk to bidders for each.
Shoe Zone is reported to have already tabled a bid, an interesting move given that it is still in the throes of its own turnaround process and recently posted lower revenue due to the closure of lossmaking stores.
But Edinburgh Woollen Mill is also a strong contender. Owned by billionaire Philip day, it has deep pockets and is currently also frontrunner to acquire Jaeger, potentially adding to its earlier Austin reed, Peacocks and Jane Norman purchases.
Alteri seems to be confident that it can sell both Jones and Brantano, despite the problems they currently face in a UK retail environment characterised by falling footfall, rising business rates and inflation fears.
But it is likely that a large chunk of the 2,000 jobs the two current provide will be axed as the administration process allows them to exit unprofitable stores.
Bathstore owner Endless and footwear chain Pavers are currently leading the race for Jones.
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