Green snaps up Etam's loss-making UK arm for £10m

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The Independent Online

The Etam brand is set to vanish from Britain's high streets after the French group behind it sold its 210 UK stores and Tammy and Emily May fashion brands to Philip Green for about £10m.

The Etam brand is set to vanish from Britain's high streets after the French group behind it sold its 210 UK stores and Tammy and Emily May fashion brands to Philip Green for about £10m.

The sale cements more than £100m of losses for Etam Developpement, which paid £93m for the quoted retail chain seven years ago. The loss-making UK arm collapsed owing its parent company £20m.

Mr Green said he would launch the Tammy brand, aimed at teenagers, throughout this Bhs chain as a "shop within a shop". It will be the first time Bhs has offered shoppers a sub-brand and follows Marks & Spencer's success with Per Una.

He said: "We think Tammy has lots of potential. It's a brand that has had a very good following." Mr Green is also likely to launch Emily May, the plus-sized brand, as a similar sub-brand within Bhs.

Just four bidders are understood to have tabled offers for Etam as a going concern, although several restructuring specialists, including Hilco and Gordon Brothers, made bids with an eye to breaking up the UK business.

Yesterday's deal marked Mr Green's first big acquisition since he paid £850m for Arcadia, the Top Shop-to-Wallis group, in 2002. "From a strategic point of view, Etam is in a similar market to Dorothy Perkins so it's a logical fit," he said.

Etam has been a disaster for its French owner. Etam Developpement wrote off €74.6m (£52m) on its UK business last week, including a €37.8m loss for last year. It has been losing £800,000 a week.

The French company is understood to have licensed the Etam brand to Mr Green "for a period" but the Bhs owner is expected ultimately to transfer all of the 210 stores, which include 20 department store concessions, to his stable of brands, which include Evans and Miss Selfridge.

Paul Herman, the director of retail at Cavendish Corporate Finance, which advised Etam Developpement, said the main goal had been to sell the business as a going concern. "Philip was one of a handful of bidders who was able to deliver this key objective for our client," he said. "Philip was in the best position to create value for what remained of the Etam group in the UK."

Mr Green said he had not decided whether to keep all of the stores open.

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