Liberty London announces expansion
Liberty, one of London’s oldest and most iconic department stores has unveiled plans to expand its brand globally by entering into the initial public offering process in 2018. The purpose of the IPO is to sustain the company’s independent status, incorporating the launch of an own-label and pursuit of collaboration with other brands. The store is also set to celebrate its 140th year in business later in September this year. Liberty is an enduring symbol of London’s fashion and trading history, earning £133 million in 2014, with profits reported as £9 million after tax.
Speaking to British Vogue, Liberty’s executive chairman and the managing partner of the store’s private equity owner, BlueGem Capital Partners, Marc Capello reassured staff and customers that the brand would not be subject to changes in its management: “There will be no uncertainty for people who work in Liberty. They’re not going to get a new owner”. Capello added, “I will stay on as chairman, and the people who work here will know that the management will not change.”
The proposed expansion schedule includes the addition of embossed leather products to the existing lines sold in its own name. Capello insists replica stores will not be opened, maintaining the exclusivity of the London location. However, wholesale accounts are a further aspect to the overall project.
“We are selecting very few stores, and we will not sell to more than one store per city,” Capello said about expanding Liberty’s wholesale presence. “The one thing I’ve learned over the years is how not to ruin a brand. We’ll give the stores an exclusive period, and in exchange, they’re going to provide us with a location that is appropriate for us and for the designs, so that it feels limited.”