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Karen Millen owner appoints advisers to investigate sale

Lauretta Roberts
02 June 2019

Kaupthing, the Icelandic owner of Karen Millen, has appointed advisers from Deloitte to investigate options for the chain including a potential sale.

According to Sky News, Kaupthing has received a number a takeover approaches for the chain, which also owns the Coast brand having acquired parts of the business out of administration last year. Any sale process, should one come about, is likely to take several months.

Karen Millen operates 57 standalone stores, along with a number of concessions in department stores such as John Lewis and Selfridges, and across 65 countries.

It has recently been expanding its licensing business via a deal with IMG, announced last March. It has since signed licensing deals for accessories with Global Brands Group, footwear with Pentland Brands and swimwear with Heidi Klein, as it bids to become a fully fledged lifestyle brand under CEO Beth Butterwick.

Its latest available accounts show a pre-tax loss of £9.5m on sales of £161.9m in the year ending February 2018.

Kaupthing also owns the Oasis and Warehouse brands and ran a sale process for those brands in 2017 but failed to reach any agreement with suitable bidders.

Karen Millen was founded by the designer of the same name in 1981 and was sold to Oasis 2004. Millen is no longer involved with the business and has tried, and failed, to regain the use of her name on clothing designs. She was declared bankrupt two years ago.


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