KKR Takes Majority Stake in Fast-Growing French Fashion Brands

Spring style from Sandro, one of SMCP Group's biggest brands

Spring style from Sandro, one of SMCP Group’s biggest brands

Paris—SMCP Group, a fast-growing French “affordable luxury” ready-to-wear and accessories brands, just got a boost in its international expansion plans. Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) reported today that it purchased a 65% stake in SMCP, with the fashion firm’s management group retaining the other 35%.

SMCP (which includes brands Sandro, Sandro Men, Maje and Claudie Pierlot) was founded in the late 1980s by sister partners who developed the four brands. In the last five years, SMCP has had significant growth both on a comparable store basis and new store openings. Besides its business in Europe, SMCP has established a growing presence in the United States and more recently Asia. The company has more than 570 points of sales with a sales volume in 2012 of about 350 million euros. Another 150 store openings are expected this year, mainly outside France.

“SMCP is a remarkable business with an outstanding management team,” said Jacques Garajalde, managing director for KKR’s French operations. “The company has developed strong French brands with international appeal, and high quality products at affordable prices that meet the needs of consumers around the world. We are pleased to support the team in their growth strategy.”

Commenting on KKR’s stake, Evelyne Chetrite, SMCP Group president, said, “I have created this beautiful family history with my sister, Judith Milgrom, and I am pleased to embark on a new phase of our lives with KKR. Alongside Elie Kouby and Frédéric Biousse, Judith and I are reaffirming our full commitment to the business and have great ambitions for the group: building a global leader in the affordable luxury segment.”

KKR was founded in 1976 and led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts and has global assets worth about $75.5 billion as of Dec. 31, 2012.

About SMCP Group

SMCP Group is a leading apparel retailing group, operating in the affordable luxury apparel segment across four brands: Sandro, Sandro Men, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. Sandro and Maje were founded by Evelyne and Didier Chétrite and Judith Milgrom and Alain Moyal in the late 1980s and 1990s, respectively. In 2007, Evelyne and Judith were joined by Frédéric Biousse and Elie Kouby to accelerate the development of their brands. Claudie Pierlot was acquired in early 2009 and SMCP Group was subsequently created in 2010 upon an investment made by L Capital and Florac. SMCP Group’s business model consists of combining luxury codes (marketing, communication, shopping experience) with creative design content and high-quality fabrics while leveraging best practices from the fast fashion industry. Having already opened 69 retail outlets in North America over the last 18 months, Sandro, Maje, and Claudie Pierlot also have five stores in Hong Kong and will open their two first stores in Shanghai in July, followed by four additional stores by the end of the year.

 

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com