Barclays makes 2.5x from shoe retailer sale

Barclays Private Equity’s sale of women’s shoe company Kurt Geiger to Graphite Capital comes despite the worrying storm clouds gathering around the UK retail sector.

UK mid-market private equity firm Graphite Capital has bought Kurt Geiger for £95 million (€126 million; $186.5 million) from Barclays Private Equity, according to Steven Silvester, a director at the European mid-market vendor. Barclays Private Equity made a two and a half times return, according to a source close to the deal.

Silvester said: “It’s difficult to sell any retailer at the moment. Kurt Geiger was different because its track record is strong, as is management. With retailers you’ve got winners and losers all the time and at the moment this is exaggerated.”

Kurt Geiger sells its own and third-party luxury footwear brands including Prada, Gucci and Jimmy Choo though 16 own-brand stores and six airport outlets. It also sells through UK department stores such as Harrods, John Lewis and Liberty, but also has international concessions in French department store Printemps and Italian department store La Rinascente.

Management will be reinvesting in the company. UK banks Lloyds TSB and RBS provided debt facilities. Last week Graphite Capital-owned recruitment outsourcing company Alexander Mann Solutions bought rival Capital Consulting for an undisclosed sum.