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Jack Wills

Description:

Established in 1999 as a single shop in the seaside town of Salcombe, Jack Wills is a British preppy lifestyle brand. Known for its heritage-inspired wardrobe classics, Jack Wills epitomises a carefree and youthful spirit. Founders, Peter Williams and Alejandro Wills, opened at 22 Fore Street, Salcombe with £40,000 start-up capital - they slept above the shop.

The brand was named after one of the co-founders' grandparents. Today, Jack Wills operates more than 100 stores worldwide, including five stores in Hong Kong and two in Singapore.

Williams left the firm in 2013 only to return in 2016 in partnership with private equity house BlueGem Capital to buy it back from long-term investor Inflexion. However Williams and BlueGem fell out over strategy and he left again in 2018 to be replaced by Suzanne Harlow, formerly of Debenhams.

The business struggled in a turbulent retail environment and as its branded clothing fell out of favour. Despite further cash injections from BlueGem, the business floundered and was put up for sale.

Mike Ashley's Sports Direct won the race to buy it seeing off a rival bid from retail tycoon Philip Day of Edinburgh Woollen Mill. The business was acquired in a pre-pack deal for just £12.75m. Sports Direct pledged in August 2019 to keep as many stores open as possible but warned that some carry "extortionate rents" so closures are expected. The international business was not part of the deal.

Company Information
Annual Sales: £139.5M (to January 2018)
Company Size (No. of Employees): 1,733
Parent Company/Key Investors: Sports Direct
UK Standalone Stores: 73
International Stores & Stockists: 17
Total Global Stores & Stockists: More than 100
Group Companies: Jack Wills; Liberty London; Mamas & Papas; Iconic London; QMS Medicosmetics (all owned by BlueGem)
Key Brands Stocked: Jack Wills
Contact Information
Head Office Address:
Unit 1-3 Bestway Business Centre, 95 Victoria Road, London NW10 6DJ
Head Office Telephone: 033 3014 2020
PR Company: Retail PR handled by FLAX Nadine Armstrong - Senior Account Manager 020 7486 4242 nadine@flaxpr.com
Key Executives
Chief Executive: Suzanne Harlow
Merchandising Director: David Wertheim
Design Director: James Hannaford
Retail Director: Marcus Appleton
Digital Director: Mark Wright
Chief Marketing Officer: Claire Waugh
HR Director: Helena Feltham
Social Media

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