Planned return to market for Sock Shop

The Jumper retail chain, which acquired Sock Shop from the receivers last weekend, is planning a stock market flotation within two years. It would mark a return to the quoted arena for Sock Shop which was taken to the Unlisted Securities Market in the late 1980s by the original founder, Sophie Mirman.

The plan has been drawn up by Peter Ridsdale, managing director of the Tulchan Group which owns both Jumper and Sock Shop. The company made profits of around pounds 1.5m on sales of pounds 24.5m in the year to January.

Jumper has 105 stores and 40 concessions in department stores. Based at Carnforth in Lancashire, it also includes a wholesale division. Almost all its equity is held by venture capital groups including 3i and Prudential Ventures, who backed a management buy-out in 1992.

Mr Ridsdale hopes to inject more life into the 75 Sock Shop outlets by refurbishing the stores and concentrating on socks, hosiery and underwear. He says the company has received enquiries from several department store groups about possible in-store concessions. "The brand name still has a lot of latent loyalty," he said.

It is thought Jumper paid several million pounds for Sock Shop, which recorded a loss last year. It is expected make a contribution to profits this year.

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