Wednesday 4 November 2020 12:14 pm

Hong Kong private equity firm acquires majority stake in footwear retailer Clarks

Hong Kong private equity firm Lionrock Capital has confirmed it will acquire a £100m  majority stake in high street footwear retailer Clarks. 

The deal is dependent on Clarks securing shareholder approval for its restructuring plan, which will allow the retailer to close stores and move to a turnover-rent model. 

Lionrock Capital will acquire a majority stake, with the Clark family remaining invested in the 195-year-old business. It is the first time that the founding family will give up majority ownership of the firm. 

It was reported last month that the shoe shop chain had begun negotiations with landlords over store closures and rental agreements.

Clarks and its advisors met with retail property owners to discuss a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), which would allow the retailer to move to a “turnover rent” model linked to sales, Sky News reported.

The restructuring, which would need to be approved by creditors, would see Clarks close 50 stores, resulting in hundreds of redundancies in a further blow to the ailing UK high street.

Today, Clarks chief executive Giorgio Presca said: ““Our strategy is designed to put the consumer at the heart of everything we do through a focus on brand segmentation and revitalising our brand communications, digital experience and product design to create consumer desire.

“The challenges to our business brought on by Covid-19 have meant that we need more resources and investment in order to fully deliver this strategy and safeguard the future of our business. 

“The new partnership with Lionrock Capital will provide this as well as the expertise to grow the Clarks brand in China, which remains a primary opportunity. Our people, partners and customers remain our top priority and we are committed to building a relevant, accessible and desirable brand that reflects the way consumers live their lives.”