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BlueGem sells Liberty stake

The private equity owner of Liberty has sold an undisclosed share of the business to a group of investors, as the high-end department store reports a rise in sales for the year to February 1, 2014.

Liberty owner private equity firm BlueGem, which has fully owned the retailer since 2010, has sold a share of the business to “some prominent and well established international families from Europe and the Middle East”, a statement from Liberty said.

The company said: “These investors are long-term oriented and provide the company with significant stability of capital and a relevant network in the industry. BlueGem has retained a sizeable investment in the business and will continue to manage and support the company and the management team in the next stage of development.”

BlueGem remains the majority shareholder.

Liberty declined to disclose the names of the new investors or how much of a stake BlueGem had sold.

The retailer, famous for its iconic mock-Tudor exterior, has reported unaudited EBITDA of £17.5m for the year to February 1, 2014. Sales increased 7% to more than £124m.

Like-for-like store sales rose 11.2%. Sales lifted due to a 5% rise in footfall, with 4.5 million people visiting the London store last year.

The retailer singled out premium brands The Row, Givenchy, Victoria Beckham, Valentino, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen as delivering strong results in accessories and clothing.

Liberty, which was founded in 1875, said Christmas trading in the flagship store enjoyed double digit growth, while Liberty online was up 86% year on year.

 

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