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Advent International backs French fashion retailer’s global expansion

French retailer Gérard Darel and private equity firm Advent International have announced a strategic and financial partnership agreement that is intended to underpin the company’s p

French retailer Gérard Darel and private equity firm Advent International have announced a strategic and financial partnership agreement that is intended to underpin the company’s plans for international expansion.

Gérard Darel is a designer and retailer of mid-market to high-end women’s ready-to-wear clothing in Western Europe, notably France, Spain, Italy and the UK, and has a growing presence in a further 40 countries. According to the firm, Advent’s investment represents an important step for the family-run group to strengthen its international competitiveness.

Gérard Darel currently employs 600 people in more than 40 countries and generated sales of around EUR158m in 2007, up 12 per cent from the previous year. With more than 30 per cent of its turnover coming from international markets, the business has a network of over 90 own brand shops, 140 department store concessions and 1,200 multi-brand boutiques, providing a strong platform for cross-border growth.

With Advent’s backing, the firm’s strategy is to double the group’s turnover by increasing the number of own-brand stores in France from 40 to 80 as well as strengthening the group’s competitiveness and international network.

‘In selecting Advent International as our partner, our group has access not only to the expertise of a renowned global private equity player to advance the company’s international development, but also the financial resources to support our ambitious growth strategy,’ says chief executive Laurent Gerbi. ‘We have great confidence that this collaboration will take the Gérard Darel brand to its next level.’

Pascal Stefani, managing director of Advent International in France, says: ‘We are delighted to support the management team of Danielle Darel, Laurent Gerbi and David Maruani, whose ambitions and values we share, in this new phase in the company’s development. We have been impressed by the quality of Gérard Darel’s products and its excellent positioning in the affordable luxury goods market.

‘The company’s future growth prospects are strong and the performance of its retail and wholesale network, as well as the professionalism of its management team, are important assets that will allow Gérard Darel to become a leading women’s clothing and leather goods brand worldwide.’

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