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Two South African buyers compete for Jigsaw

Lauretta Roberts
17 December 2017

Two South African retail groups are reported to be competing to land British premium fashion brand Jigsaw.

The Foschini Group, which already owns Whistles, Phase Eight and Hobbs, is said to be vying with Truworths, which owns footwear retailer Office, to secure a deal to buy the chain, according to The Telegraph.

It was revealed in October that Jigsaw, which was founded in 1970 by John Robinson, had appointed KPMG to explore its options and to help with approaches from potential buyers. At the time it was understood to be keen to wrap up a deal before Christmas.

Last month it was reported that Jigsaw had approached The Foschini Group, which had just secured a deal to buy Hobbs from private equity owner 3i. That deal marked Foschini's third acquisition of a premium UK fashion retail brand in as many years having acquired Whistles in March of 2016 and Phase Eight in 2015. South African fashion chain Truworths acquired Office in 2015.

Jigsaw, which operates 80 stores in the UK and reported sales of £95m in 2016, is said to be trading well but has been hit by higher import costs due to the drop in the value of sterling following the Brexit vote. It is also working on a debt refinancing deal to stabilise its balance sheet, The Telegraph reports.

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