Boohoo has announced it has acquired all of the intellectual property assets of Debenhams in a £55m deal, putting 12,000 shop staff at risk of redundancy.
The transaction does not include Debenhams’ retail stores, stock or any financial services, meaning it is unlikely the majority of the stores staff will be retained.
The online fashion retailer expressed its intent to rebuild and relaunch the Debenhams platform, which in result will help further the group’s stated ambition to lead the fashion eCommerce market, and grow into new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.
Boohoo stated it plans to expand the range of products sold via the Debenhams marketplace by maintaining “existing marketplace brand relationships” and adding new brands over time. Additionally, the relaunched marketplace will also provide a “new route to market” for the group’s existing brand portfolio.
Debenhams will continue to operate its website for an agreed period before the relaunch on the group’s platform, its own fashion brands will reportedly be absorbed into Boohoo’s current brand portfolio and sold via the core Debenhams site and their own pureplay websites.
John Lyttle, CEO for Boohoo, said: “The acquisition of the Debenhams brand is an important development for the Group, as we seek to capture incremental growth opportunities arising from the accelerating shift to online retail.
“We have developed a successful multi-brand direct-to-consumer platform that continues to disrupt the markets that we operate in.”
He added: “The acquisition represents an exciting strategic opportunity to transform our target addressable market through the creation of an online marketplace that leverages Debenhams’ high brand awareness and traffic through the development of beauty and fashion partnerships connecting brands with consumers.”
Mahmud Kamani, Boohoo executive chairman, expressed that this was a “transformational deal” for the group, which allows it to capture the “fantastic opportunity” as e-commerce continues to grow.
He said: “Our acquisition of the Debenhams brand is strategically significant as it represents a huge step which accelerates our ambition to be a leader, not just in fashion e-commerce, but in new categories including beauty, sport and homeware.”