As reported, but now official, Chinese luxury clothing retailer Trinity Ltd is buying the Cerruti fashion house that is best-known for its men’s wool suits and 1881 perfume for 53 million euros (US$70m). The move will enable it to expand into leather goods, perfumes and watches.
China accounts for a significant portion of Cerruti’s sales. The Cerruti acquisition is a natural progression in Trinity’s brand building strategy and highlights its growing appetite for European luxury brands, particularly those with rich heritage.
Trinity said its purchase of Cerruti “fits in with the Group’s strategy to own intellectual property rights or take on very long term licenses in high-end to luxury menswear brands with heritage.”
Buyout firm Matlin Patterson has owned Cerruti since 2006. Cerruti, which has invested heavily in advertising, hopes to break-even in 2011. For 2010, it expects operating losses of 4 million euros ($5.20 million) on sales of 150 million euros.
The fashion house recently relaunched its womenswear and showed its first collection designed by Britain’s Richard Nicoll at the March Paris fashion week.
Cerruti CEO Florent Perrichon is expected to stay. Brand founder Nino Cerruti, is no longer involved with the company, but his family’s Italian textile plant still supplies Cerruti.
Cerruti makes its men’s couture lines in Italy and women’s luxury lines in Belgium, but it outsources secondary lines, accessories and perfumes to licensed partners.
Trinity manages six premium international menswear brands, including Cerruti 1881, but mostly under licenses.
Trinity’s holding company Li & Fung Group generated US$16 billion ($21 billion) in sales in 2009 and has gone on a shopping spree recently, buying Oxford Apparel and the British private-label apparel supplier Visage.
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