Virgin takes on Boots

Victory Corporation, a joint venture between Virgin and entrepreneurs Rory and Tim McCarthy, plans to shake up high-street cosmetics retailing with a 100-strong chain to challenge Boots, Body Shop and upmarket department stores.

The news comes as Victory last week completed a pounds 45m placing to fund its new Virgin cosmetics concept and a new brand of Virgin jeans and casualwear.

Victory's shares start trading on the Alternative Investment Market on Thursday in a pounds 110m flotation at the 58p placing price. "This is an opportunity for the public to invest again in the success of the Virgin brand," said Rory McCarthy, Victory's chairman.

The flotation leaves over half the shares with institutions and small shareholders, with the McCarthys holding a third directly and via their Alberta-quoted McCarthy Corporation.

Virgin, which has licensed its name for the ventures, has a 10 per cent stake in Victory itself, as well as half the cosmetics subsidiary and 30 per cent of the clothing operation.

Whereas Virgin jeans will be a branded product, sold through 400 stores owned by others, it is the cosmetics venture that has set the retail sector buzzing.

From a launch in time for Christmas 1997, Victory hopes to fill a price and product niche between the up-market brands and the likes of Boots and Body Shop in an industry that is worth pounds 4.1bn each year.

A 700-strong range, from eye shadows to aftershave, will be sold under the Virgin name from its own outlets, which will be staffed by qualified beauty therapists. "It will be entirely the Virgin ethos: first-class service at business-class prices," Mr McCarthy said. Victory also has plans for franchises overseas.

The range has been designed by Liz and Mark Warom, who were responsible for the Body Shop's colour cosmetics range. Mr McCarthy stresses, however, that Victory does not aim to mimic Body Shop's environmental marketing stance.

Victory will launch Virgin jeans soon afterwards and aims to turn initial losses into a pounds 2.4m profit in 2000, rising to pounds 34.8m on sales of pounds 207m by 2007.

The placing attracted around 50 City institutions. They include Clerical Medical, Guardian and Morgan Grenfell, which have taken the largest stakes.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?