Daughter of Matalan founder saves Nicole Fahri brand

Maxine Hargreaves-Adams bought the retailer for an undisclosed sum

The failed luxury brand Nicole Farhi has been rescued out of  administration by the daughter of John Hargreaves, the founder and owner of Matalan.

The retailer, which was founded in 1982 by French Connection boss Stephen Marks and his former wife Nicole Farhi, appointed Zolfo Cooper as administrator this month after being hit by a trading and cashflow crisis.

Maxine Hargreaves-Adams described Nicole Farhi as “an iconic and much-loved British brand” but the knock-down price paid for the business was not disclosed.

This beefs up the growing fashion portfolio of the entrepreneur, as she bought the retailer Fenn Wright Manson out of administration last year. Ms Hargreaves-Adams also invested in Damsel in a Dress last month.

She is wealthy in her own right and spent 15 years at Matalan, including in the role of fashion director, before she forged her own career buying and building brands. Well-known in high society, Ms Hargreaves-Adams has been a guest at Sir Elton John’s balls, and is a close friend of Prince Andrew.

Her younger brothers are also steeped in the rag trade. While eyebrows were raised this month when Jason Hargreaves replaced Darren Blackhurst as chief executive of Matalan, he started working at the fashion retailer at the age of eight, and has been a senior figure over recent years.

Another sibling, Jamey, invested in the luxury label Julien Macdonald in 2007. He resigned from the brand as a  director iin 2011 but at that time  remained an investor.

John Hargreaves also owns the Wolsey clothing business.

Nicole Farhi has endured a turbulent three years. French Connection sold the brand to the US private equity firm OpenGate for £5m in 2010.

The investment firm then sold its stake to Kelso Place Asset Management in January 2012.

Retail vision: Hargreaves and Matalan

It was on a trip to a Walmart store in the US that John Hargreaves saw the future of retail: low-cost stores in out-of-town parks. The son of a Liverpool docker left school at 14 and has never looked back after establishing Matalan from a store in Preston in 1985.

He made his fortune by floating Matalan on the stock market in 1998 and then took it private in 2006 in a deal worth £827m, supported by £410m of debt. The tycoon, who commutes from his home in Monaco to Matalan’s office in Skelmersdale, north-west England, tried unsuccessfully to sell the retailer for £1.5bn four years ago. Mr Hargreaves stepped down as chairman of Matalan in 2007 but, with his son, Jason, as chief executive, he is likely to be as closely involved as ever.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral