Boohoo acquires Debenhams brand and website

boohoo, the online fashion retailer, has announced that it has acquired all of the intellectual property assets (including customer data and related business information and selected contracts) of Debenhams Retail Limited (in administration) (“Debenhams”) from its joint administrators, for £55 million (plus VAT) in cash (the “Transaction”).

Debenhams is a long-standing UK fashion and beauty retailer with high brand awareness, and an established online platform with approximately 300 million UK website visits per annum. This makes it a top 10 retail website in the UK by traffic.

The Transaction represents a fantastic opportunity to grow the Group’s target addressable market and increase the share of wallet opportunity through a new capital light and low risk operating model that is complementary to the Group’s highly successful direct-to-consumer multi-brand platform.

The Group intends to rebuild and relaunch the Debenhams platform, helping further the Group’s stated ambition to lead the fashion eCommerce market, and grow into new categories including beauty, sport and homeware through:

  • Marketplace: Creating the UK’s largest marketplace across fashion, beauty, sport and homeware. The Group plans to expand the range of products sold via the Debenhams marketplace by maintaining existing marketplace brand relationships and adding new brands over time. The relaunched marketplace will also provide an exciting new route to market for the Group’s existing brand portfolio
  • Beauty: The Group will continue to operate the current wholesale model, but will also look to add new beauty brands via the marketplace model
  • Own brand fashion: Debenhams’ own fashion brands will be absorbed into boohoo’s current brand portfolio and sold via the core Debenhams site and their own pureplay websites

John Lyttle, CEO, commented:

The acquisition of the Debenhams brand is an important development for the Group, as we seek to capture incremental growth opportunities arising from the accelerating shift to online retail. We have developed a successful multi-brand direct-to-consumer platform that continues to disrupt the markets that we operate in. The acquisition represents an exciting strategic opportunity to transform our target addressable market through the creation of an online marketplace that leverages Debenhams’ high brand awareness and traffic through the development of beauty and fashion partnerships connecting brands with consumers.”

Mahmud Kamani, Executive Chairman, commented:

“This is a transformational deal for the Group, which allows us to capture the fantastic opportunity as eCommerce continues to grow. Our ambition is to create the UK’s largest marketplace. Our acquisition of the Debenhams brand is strategically significant as it represents a huge step which accelerates our ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion eCommerce, but in new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.”

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