Aquascutum returns home after Jaeger deal

Harold Tillman vows to expand Aquascutum into new markets globally

The management team behind Jaeger have acquired Aquascutum, in a deal that creates a group with combined global brand sales of more than £300m and returns the struggling 158-year-old luxury fashion label to its British roots.

Harold Tillman, the retail entrepreneur and Belinda Earl, the chief executive of Jaeger, have bought the fashion brand – most famous for its trench coats – from the Japanese company Renown for an undisclosed price. Since it was founded in 1851, Aquascutum has achieved several royal warrants and its customers have included the Queen Mother, Baroness Thatcher, Sophia Loren and Humphrey Bogart.

The two retail heavyweights will seek to deliver a similar turnaround to that achieved at Jaeger, which Mr Tillman acquired in 2003. They believe that ailing Aquascutum's biggest opportunity is in overseas markets, including the US, Middle East and Russia, as well as its 17 standalone stores and concessions in department stores in the UK.

Mr Tillman, the chairman and majority owner of Jaeger, vowed to develop the Aquascutum brand globally. On paper, the deal is a fillip for 340 staff, of whom 120 work at its factory in Corby, Northamptonshire, but a Jaeger spokeswoman declined to comment on their future prospects.

Aquascutum has always made its clothes in England and has had the same UK flagship store on Regent Street since 1901. In 1853, the tailor John Emary produced a crafted shower-proof fabric that was used for coats for officers in the Crimean War between 1853 and 1856. Later in the 19th century, King Edward VII became Aquascutum's first royal client and in 1897 it was granted its first royal warrant.

British soldiers of all ranks wore Aquascutum's trench coats in both world wars in the 20th century. Aquascutum was family-owned until 1990, when Renown bought it for £77m. But in recent years it has lost its way and faced an uncertain future.

For the year ended 29 December 2007, Aquascutum's UK pre-tax losses nearly doubled to £15.7m, from £7.5m the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The loss included an exceptional operating charge of £4.7m on fixed assets, but its sales fell by more than £1m to £26.9m.

Renown initiated a strategic review of Aquascutum this spring. In May, Kim Winser, Aquascutum's chief executive, made a management buyout offer for the business, but this was rejected by Renown and Ms Winser left shortly after.

Ms Earl, Jaeger's chief executive, vowed to drive synergies between Aquascutum and Jaeger, which has global sales of £140m, and grow the brand through its international stockists. She said: "We believe it has the potential to expand in both existing and new markets." Aquascutum, which wholesales into 26 countries, will continue to wholesale into Asia, but YGM Trading, the Chinese licensee for the brand, has acquired the rights for the Asia business.

Robert Clark, the senior partner at Retail Knowledge Bank, said the revitalisation of rival Burberry, under its current management team, contrasts with the recent fortunes of Aquascutum under Renown. He said: "Aquascutum was a Burberry waiting to happen, but it never had the investment, management input and innovative leadership in a global world to do a Burberry."

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Junior Database developer (SQL, T-SQL, Excel, SSRS, Crystal rep

£25000 - £30000 per annum + bonus+benefits+package: Harrington Starr: Junior D...

Java/Calypso Developer

£600 - £800 per day: Harrington Starr: Java/Calypso Developer Java, Calypso, ...

Quantitative Developer

£700 per day: Harrington Starr: Quantitative Developer C++, Python, STL, R, PD...

Web developer (C#, MVC4, HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, Jquery)

£30000 - £44000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Web deve...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment