31 January 2012

OFFICE sets the pace

Portfolio company OFFICE, the young fashion footwear retailer, today reported a 26% growth in like-for-like sales in the 5 weeks to 31st Dec 2011; for the same period last year the business reported like-for-like sales growth of 19%. In addition, we have made a significant appointment to its board., with the appointment of Allan Leighton as Non-Executive Chairman. This is the second senior appointment to the board after Ian Findlay joined as Finance Director in September.

Both Allan and Ian have considerable expertise in the retail sector. Previously Allan was CEO of Asda, and Chairman of the Royal Mail and holds several Non-Executive positions. Ian was the former Finance Director and Managing Director of young fashion brand Jane Norman.

Brian McCluskey, CEO of OFFICE commented, “the business has been performing strongly all year, with 12 month like-for-like growth in excess of 15%. During 2011 we have opened 8 stores and 8 concessions and all have traded significantly ahead of expectations. This is a very credible performance particularly in the current environment and is testament to the incredible team of people we have here at OFFICE and the fantastic brands and suppliers we work with. Over the coming 12 months we will look at opening a further 6-8 stores, as well as continuing to invest heavily in our web business”.

Allan Leighton said “OFFICE has built a great brand, known by anyone looking for fashionable shoes, because it understands the customer’s desires and needs. There is still significant opportunity for further growth and I ’m looking forward to helping Brian and his team build the business further”.

OFFICE first opened in 1981 and has since grown to 84 stand-alone stores in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and 52 concessions in House of Fraser, Topshop (including New York and Chicago) and Topman, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, and has a fast-growing internet business. The business retails a selection of the best footwear brands available as well as its own-branded shoes, primarily under brands such as “OFFICE”, Ask the Missus” and “Poste”.

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