Luke Johnson goes East and buys stake in bohemian chain
Susie Mesure writes interviews, news and features for the Independent on Sunday, Independent and i, and has done for the last ten years or so give or take two lengthy maternity leaves. She is interested in just about any topic, especially anything Scandinavian, food, or consumer-orientated, and used to be the Independent’s Retail Correspondent
Thursday 02 March 2006
Luke Johnson, the chairman of Channel 4, is to turn his hand to fashion retailing after taking a 50 per cent stake in the boho womenswear chain East, which is owned by four friends who set it up in 1994.
The restaurant entrepreneur, who made his fortune at PizzaExpress, has agreed to take on the non-executive chairmanship of East. He is heading a group of investors who are ploughing millions of pounds into the chain, which has struggled to expand its 60-strong store estate for lack of cash.
Mr Johnson is making the investment through his private equity group Risk Capital Partners. He declined to reveal the identity of East's other new backers, whom he described as "associates". He made no comment about potential plans to float the business, saying only that the consortium was investing a "significant amount of money" because it saw potential for the brand.
For seven months last year East was run by Yasmin Yusuf, the former creative director of Marks & Spencer. But she quit last autumn out of frustration that the group did not have the funds to grow as quickly as she had envisaged. Yesterday she said: "It's a good company and I wish them well."
Mr Johnson's arrival marks the first time that the founders of East have relinquished control of the business they started on London's Fulham Road in 1994. With Mr Johnson as East's figurehead, Clive Pettigrew, a former partner of Peter Simon, the man behind Monsoon, will concentrate on running the retailer known for its ethnic fashions aimed at women in their late 30s and 40s.
Mr Pettigrew, who started East with two former Monsoon employees, Penny Oliver and Jonathan Keating, said he hoped the dual injection of cash and financial know-how would help transform it into a strong high street brand. East made £2.6m of profits before tax on sales of £35.6m in the year to March 2005, its accounts show. It also owns a jewellery and fashion accessory brand, Mint, in which Mr Johnson has also invested.
elephant appealThe first 23 lots in our charity auction have now gone. But there are 22 more still up for grabs
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
newsFormer soldier taped 33 of the animals to the floor and then stamped on them one by one
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Robin Thicke named sexist of the year 2013
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Paul Walker death caused by speed alone
Apollo Theatre collapse: Scores injured after ceiling collapses in London's West End
- 1 North Koreans are gasping for the truth: Let's give it to them
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 3 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 4 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- 5 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£Negotiable: Citifocus: High calibre individual with institutional client serv...
£120000 - £150000 per annum: Cornwallis Elt : Programme Manager, Strategy Lead...
£55000 - £120000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: The Financial Services Tran...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Client based in West London is looking ...