As Self-Portrait’s Parent Acquires Roland Mouret, What Comes Next?

In the wake of taking over just last month, citing a shortage of sales due to the ongoing pandemic, Roland Mouret was acquired by the newly created vehicle of Self-Portrait founder Han Chong, SP Collection. Mr Mouret, born in France and residing in London, known for creating the iconic Galaxy dress in 2005, and for garnering fans ranging from Victoria Beckham and Demi Moore to Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, is readily looking ahead as he is slated to show its Resort 2023 collection in June 2022, in what will be its first show under the new ownership agreement.

After founding Self-Portrait in 2013 and winning over quite a few famous customers for his elegant and functional womenswear, Mr. Chong has quietly prepared himself for his next move as well. One of the first signs of an evolution came nearly a month ago when, according to a November 30 Hong Kong company register entry, he renamed his business entity from Self-Portrait Holdings Ltd. to SP Collection Ltd. a group larger luxury, the acquisition of the intellectual property and other assets of Mouret’s company, RM 19 Ltd., adds a respected brand to Chong’s growing portfolio, giving Mouret a much-needed lifeline after a very little performance. brilliant society due to COVID-19. (Mouret’s personnel and retail operations, however, were not included in the deal.)

In a press release announcing the deal, Mr. Chong said he was “very honored to have the opportunity to bring this luxury brand to the next leg of his journey”, stating that “as part of the SP Collection, Roland Mouret will benefit from of the infrastructure and resources needed to ensure it can thrive in the coming years. ”Chong further added,“ The Roland Mouret brand already has a powerful and respected legacy and I am thrilled to see how we can develop it for luxury customers throughout. the world”.

It is worth noting that despite a relatively difficult year with a 23% drop in sales, a 20% drop in earnings and the dissolution of Self Portrait US Inc., according to a September 2020 financial statement from Self-Portrait Ltd. , the London The headquartered company’s operating profit remained roughly in line with the 2019 numbers. At the same time, its cash and cash equivalents nearly doubled on an annual basis thanks to the inclusion of “cost controls” tougher on spending “and the emphasis on growing digital channels. Having additional liquidity and solid cash reserves will undoubtedly serve the burgeoning luxury group well, especially if it is, in fact, looking to engage in further acquisitions.

In a year that saw Sergio Rossi acquired by the new Lanvin Group; Jil Sander acquired by Renzo Rosso’s luxury group, OTB, which also owns Diesel, Marni and Maison Margiela; and Ferrari owner Exor NV acquires a 24% stake in Christian Louboutin, among many other deals, the industry is in the midst of a strong consolidation effort, driven in large part by the ongoing volatility driven by the pandemic. But while the impacts of the pandemic have allowed some of the industry’s biggest players to acquire shares in brands of others, building a new luxury group in this incredibly competitive market is currently not without its challenges.

Britain’s exit from the European Union, for example, has complicated things for companies operating on both sides of the French channel, mainly due to the increase in costs resulting from the new tariffs imposed and the risks of the supply chain. supplying. These realities, among others, make it incredibly difficult to successfully establish a solid fashion group in a world ruled by a small number of fashion conglomerates with substantial financial capabilities.

Even with these challenges in mind, it’s worth asking what the SP Collection portfolio might look like; what type and size of luxury brands might choose to focus on; and whether it will expand its territorial reach, also by seizing the opportunity to gain a stronger foothold in Asia.

Looking at the kind of profile Self-Portrait represents, adding Roland Mouret to his roster makes sense; the brand adds an authentic luxury offering to its portfolio that complements the Self-Portrait range that it retails at attractive prices. Taken together, Self-Portrait and Roland Mouret seem to suggest that the SP Collection would likely aim at a mix of small and medium-sized brands that combine both luxury and more mid-market prices.

Meanwhile, the idea that the SP Collection could have a strong foothold in Asia – and beyond – makes sense given Self-Portrait’s existing network of independent stores in Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Taipei. At the same time, London-based Self-Portrait has taken steps to reduce tariffs and foreign exchange risk by setting up a warehouse in Belgium to better serve its European customers in the wake of Brexit. (This move seems perfectly in line with Chong’s emphasis on the “infrastructure and resources” available for Mouret to thrive under his new ownership.)

As for the end result, SP Collection will inevitably face stiff competition from the biggest fashion groups who are constantly looking to bolster their holdings and profits. The potential acquisition targets in the fashion / luxury space are relatively meager at the moment and with the pandemic trying to drag on with the latest variant of Omicron, fourth quarter results are unlikely to be particularly positive for retail in 2022, particularly with countries across Europe reintroducing various degrees of blocking. Since the SP Collection, led by its Self-Portrait label, seems to want to build a group of its own, it will find itself perfectly between two of the current market realities of the moment: acquiring others or being the target of larger fish. The growing SP Collection could prove to be an interesting target in terms of the latter.

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