Ted Baker joins race for Hunter Boots
THE owner of Reebok and Ted Baker has joined the race to snap up royal warrant holder Hunter Boots.
The Wellington boot manufacturer loved by celebrities such as Kate Moss and the Princess of Wales was put up for sale last month. Backers Pall Mall Legacy, Searchlight Capital Partners and Speedo owner Pentland Group hired bankers to oversee an auction.
Authentic Brands Group, which bought Ted Baker last year and also has a stake in David Beckham’s brand management firm DB Ventures, has expressed an interest, Sky News reported.
Founded in 1856 as the North British Rubber Company, Hunter’s waterproof boots have been worn by royals such as the late Princess Diana.
The boots, which sell for £125, have also been worn by celebrities such as singer Rita Ora, Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe and model Cara Delevingne. Demand has surged due to the return of music festivals this summer after the easing of pandemic restrictions.
It is also expected to reap the rewards of Covid restrictions in China being scrapped, with demand for high-end apparel from shoppers in the country set to rebound.
Sales tanked amid the pandemic when shoppers were home-bound, causing the upmarket retailer to require a £18.5m lifeline from its investors. Existing shareholders recently injected £5m, with lenders contributing a further £2m.
As the North British Rubber Company – started in Scotland by Americans Henry Lee Norris and Spencer Thomas Parmelee – it supplied rubber boots to the Army during the First and Second World Wars, after it was the first firm to manufacture the product in the UK.
Its most recent set of accounts revealed a loss of £5.1m on sales of £108m in the year to January 2022.
It has physical stores in Bicester Village in Oxfordshire as well as in Woodbury in New York. The business also opened a store on London’s Regent Street in 2014.
Although known for selling its range of Wellington boots, it has more recently launched a wider range of accessories and clothing, such as bags and puffer jackets.
Authentic was asked to comment.