South African retailer Foschini eyes fashion chain Whistles

Kasmira Jefford
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Whistles: Presentation - London Fashion Week SS15
Whistles puts on a show at London Fashion week in September (Source: Getty)

Another South African company could soon step up its presence in the UK retail industry, this time with upmarket high street brand Whistles as the target.

Foschini, a Cape Town-based retail conglomerate which bought Phase Eight last year, is said to be eyeing a bid for Whistles after its owners hired advisers at KPMG to sound out buyers.

Foshini’s interest, reported in the Sunday Telegraph, comes after South African firm Steinhoff International made an offer for Home Retail Group last month.

The company, which is majority owned by South African billionaire businessman Christo Weise, also made a bid for electricals chain Darty last week, gatecrashing its already agreed sale to French rival Fnac.

Whistles is headed up by former Topshop boss Jane Shepherdson, who led a management buyout of the company in 2008 with the backing of Icelandic investor Baugur.

The retailer has nearly 50 UK stores as well as 76 concessions and generated around £60m of sales in the year to January 2015, the latest Companies House filings show.

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