Sun Capital bets £100m on 'retirement' retailers

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The Independent Online

The US private equity firm Sun Capital Partners is making a bet on the UK high street with a £100m double purchase, snapping up American Golf and Jacques Vert.

The UK's biggest golf specialist, American Golf was put up for sale for £80m by Lloyds Development Capital earlier this year. It is thought Sun has paid less than this – between £50m and £60m – while it paid £41.2m for thelisted womenswear retailer Jacques Vert.

The two brands, which Sun has dubbed "retirement brands", are the latest in a line of deals Sun has made in the last quarter.

It bought the womenswear group Alexon in a pre-packaged administration in September, and earlier this month completed a deal to buy the German retail chain Strauss Innovation.

Paul Daccus, the managing director of Sun European Partners, said: "Where retailers serve a specific niche such as these 'retirement' brands like American Golf and Jacques Vert, and provided the execution is right, then we believe retail is a good investment."

Both Alexon and Jacques Vert, targeting 50 plus women, will be expanded overseas, and Sun plans to bring them into its Dutch department store business, V&D. As well as concessions and a small store network, Sun plans to grow their mail order and internet businesses.

In July it bought the Dutch young fashion business Scotch & Soda. Sun is planning to open Scotch & Soda stores in London next year as well as an expansion into the US through its brand business Kellwood.

Sun has £2bn to invest and plans a new fund next year. While Sun has considered Blacks Leisure, it is not pursuing a bid for the outdoor clothing chain.