The EQT Opportunity Fund (“EQT Opportunity”) has reached an agreement to sell its shares in German retail chain Strauss Innovation (“Strauss”) to an affiliate of Sun European Partners, LLP (“Sun European Partners”). The Geringhoff family will also sell its stake. The value of the transaction is undisclosed.
Strauss is a private-label retail chain with approximately 100 stores in Germany and around 1,100 employees. The business has strong customer loyalty and is well known for its innovative assortment concept, combining interior decor with women’s and men’s apparel.
EQT Opportunity acquired Strauss in 2008 and has since executed a thorough restructuring process including a brand repositioning and the closing down of non-profitable stores. The restructuring has resulted in a turn-around and Strauss was transformed from a loss-making business in 2008 to one which is expected to generate profits for the full-year 2011.
Revenues for 2010 amounted to almost EUR 170 million. Strauss is now focused on pursuing its strategy of profitable and accelerated growth. The launch of its online shop in 2010 was followed by the opening of two new stores in Hannover and the re-opening of the Bonn store in 2011. Additional store openings as well as the refurbishment and modernisation of the existing store portfolio are planned for 2012.
Sun European Partners has significant retail and branded retail experience and counts among its affiliated portfolio companies a number of other leading businesses including neckermann.de, the multi-channel direct marketer; V&D, the largest department store chain in The Netherlands; Irisa Group (formerly Alexon), a UK ladies clothing retailer; DBApparel, a market leader in the design, manufacture and distribution of branded intimate apparel; and Scotch & Soda, a designer, marketer, wholesaler and retailer of contemporary casual apparel.
“After a successful turn-around, Strauss has a strong footprint and great opportunities for growth. Sun European Partners has vast experience of the retail sector and is well established globally. They possess a keen understanding of Strauss’ unique lifestyle concept and business model and we are confident that they will be able to develop the company even further,” says Karsten Thiel, Chairman of Strauss and member of the EQT Industrial Network.
“Strauss is a distinct German retail format with great tradition, a loyal customer base and an exciting product portfolio. With our experience in the retail sector, Strauss represents a significant opportunity for sustainable growth. We look forward to working with the management team to achieve that”, says Benjamin Buerstedde, Vice President of Sun European Partners.
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