Mike Ashley signals he is moving from the high street to Bond Street
Mike Ashley has positioned himself as the saviour of the high street for many years now. But his actions in recent months suggest that the billionaire retail mogul is now setting his sights higher than before: mostly on the rarefied realm of luxury fashion.
Frasers Group previously known as the less glamorousSports Direct is seemingly considering a takeover of Mulberry after upping its stake in the now flailing luxury brand to 37 percent.
Ashley whose retail career began when he built up Sports Direct to become the UK’s most profitable athletic wear brand has been signalling his interest in Mulberry since last winter. In February, he bought 12 percent of equity from the Somerset based companyfamous for its leather handbags; now he has purchased 4.3m Mulberry shares at 150p each from Icelandic bank Kaupthing.
Mulberry in its current state is exactly the sort of brand that Ashley usually pricks up replica designer handbags his earsat. Buying stakes in House of Fraser, Debenhams, Jack Wills and Agent Provocateur at the moment when they started floundering but before they nosedived into retail oblivion has been Ashley’s speciality although his attempts to return those brands to their previous levels of success have been cheap replica handbags mixed. The future of Debenhams continues to hang in the balance, while House of Fraser has warned it is likely to close more stores next year.
But right now it is Mulberry that Ashley is concentrating on and given the brand has had a difficult 2020 replica designer handbags , it is no wonder it has whetted his appetite. Many of its domestic sales came from a previously thriving tourist industry,which is why the brand has kept up two Oxford Street outlets as well as one on Regent Street and New Bond 1:1 replica handbags Street.
But with visitors into the UK dwindling to a trickle www.dolabuy.su high quality designer replica handbags , the brand has seen a rapid decrease in sales. Equally, the desire to buy an expensive handbag in a year where few people are going to work simply isn’t there. Add to that the fact that while Mulberry has collaborated with Iris Law the daughter of Jude Law and Sadie Frost to create the Iris bag, none of its recent offerings have reached anywhere near the heights of the Bayswater fake designer bags or the Alexa bags of the past. Perhaps why the brand has recently re released the Alexa.
For Ashley, this makes Mulberry the perfect brand to catapult Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags him into the luxury sphere. The problems Mulberry faces a lack of tourism and a lack of workers in the office will reverse once the vaccine is out, and while the companyhas fallen out offavour with the fashion setin recent years, it does still have a robust image in the luxury market. If he does buy it and turn it around, it will help cement a reputation he is clearly trying to cultivate as a purveyor of luxury goods as well as mass brands.
It is a similar cheap replica handbags story for Hugo Boss another labelAshley has his eye on. Despite it’s recentcollection with influencer Caro Daur, theaugust German luxury brand famous for its tailored workwear has also experienced a difficult 2020 understandably given our newfound adherence to leggings. So again, it is no surprise that Ashley invested in it earlier this summer.
Although Boss and Mulberry are not Ashley’s first foray into the world of luxury fashion. Flannels the expensive multi brand designer emporium that was bought by Ashley and subsequently given a makeover last year was the first sign that the retailer was moving his empire away from cut price trainers and fading department stores and towards 1000 handbags and fancy European design houses.
Run by his son in law Michael Murray, Flannels sells trainers by Gucci, handbags by Louis Vuitton and coats by Moncler to a largely non London based British audience although there is an Oxford Streetflagship, the brand replica louis vuitton launched in Leicester high quality replica handbags china and later rolled out stores around the country, many of which are attached to Sports Direct outlets. Notably this is a very different model to Mulberry’s, butit has done well: last year Flannels recorded sales of 173.9 million, up 12 per cent from 2018.
Amusingly,according to insidersat the Sports Direct’s annual meeting in London the week after the flagship opened, Ashley advisedshareholders not to buy anything in the Flannels store downstairs, saying, “It’s eye watering what some of the prices are for a pair of shoes or a cap.” Although it is exactly that ‘eye watering’ mark up that Ashley is after, having describedluxuryfashion more than once as a ‘golden ticket’.
On the less achingly expensive end of the scale but still more upmarket than any of his other brand offerings to date is Jaeger the company that this week went into administration and which Ashley is reportedly looking to buy off the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
Aptly for Ashley, in the 1920s Jaeger repositioned itself as a fashion company, making stylish sportswear for women who now wanted to play tennis aaa replica designer handbags or croquet, before later expanding to ready to wear. And while Jaeger fell out of favour in the last two decades, the brand still held ontothe sort of sophisticated, very British image Ashley is clearly hoping to cultivate at Frasers Group.
Interestingly, Stuart Stockdale, who was hired as creative director for Jaeger in 2008, says replica louis vuitton bags that any new owner will have to recognise the inherent values of the brand if they want to make a success of it.”It has to be done the right way,” he says. “It can’t be bought and run in the same way as it is now, or turned into a discount brand, it will never work. Jaeger needs to go back to its roots, celebrate its heritage, and make things in Britain again.”
The same could be said for Mulberry and Hugo Boss both brands that trade heavily on fake louis bag their heritage and their position in the country they originated in. Whether Ashley who has among his many successes also endured numerous scandals and who is used to shifting a high quantities ofproduct to make a profit is the man for the job remains to be seen.