Investor 3i holding on to its underwear with Agent Provocateur

Agent Provocateur had a strong 2014 and is now expected to stay in private equity

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The Independent Online

The luxury lingerie business Agent Provocateur is set to remain in private equity hands following a strategic review by its owner, 3i.

The buyout firm appointed Goldman Sachs last year to look at the retailer’s future and explore options including a possible sale.

However, Agent Provocateur enjoyed a stellar 2014 with sales up 20 per cent in the nine months to end of December, with like-for-like sales up 8 per cent and online up 36 per cent.

Some of its strongest growth came in China, where the company managed to turn a profit in its four stores despite opening only 18 months ago.

The company was also helped by its diffusion range, L’Agent, which is cheaper and aimed at a younger market. Designed by Penelope and Monica Cruz, the brand opened boutiques in New York, London and Los Angeles.