Innovation

Myer claims final $30 million stake in Sass & Bide, amid full year reports

Helen Alexander /

Myer has bought out the final 35% stake in women’s fashion brand Sass & Bide for approximately $30 million, with the settlement due within weeks.

The department store business purchased 65% of the brand in February 2011, for approximately $42 million, from founders Heidi Middleton and Sarah-Jane Clarke.

The original sale to Myer followed a turbulent time for Sass & Bide, which survived voluntary administration.

Myer chief executive officer Bernie Brookes said sales for the brand have grown 45% since the original acquisition, with profit growth of 112%.

“Sass & Bide is well placed to continue building on this strong platform and has an exciting pipeline of growth initiatives to deliver, including new store openings and brand extensions into new categories,” he said.

Middleton and Clarke will remain involved in the business, along with executive chairman David Briskin. Director Daniel Besen will not continue with the brand.

“Sass & Bide will retain its autonomy of management and, most importantly, of design,” Brookes said.

Megan Foster has been appointed to the role of managing director Sass & Bide and group general manager Myer freestanding stores.

In a statement to SmartCompany, both Clarke and Middleton were excited about the sale.

Middleton said the announcement will bring with it a “fresh energy for the future, and as we expand heavily internationally, it is an exciting time for the business”.

Briskin said that they “couldn’t be happier with the direction and management of the business”, and that the timing was perfect ahead of the brand opening its international flagship store in New York.

Sass & Bide has a number of own stores nationally, as well as in New Zealand and in New York, and Myer in-store concessions, as well as online and wholesale operations.

The news comes amid Myer’s FY13 reports released today, which showed its investment in online operations were starting to reap rewards.

The retailer reported double growth in online sales, page views and average monthly visits compared to the previous financial year. It expects online sales to double again in the year ahead, and online operations to break even.

The company reported full year total sales up 0.8% to $3145 million, which is up 0.4% on a comparable store sales basis. It reported operating gross profit up 1.8% to $1312 million and net profit after tax down 8.7% to $127 million.

Its exclusive brands sales were up $40 million, which accounted for 20% of sales, and concessions were up $18 million to account for 15.4% of sales.

Myer’s EBITDA was down 2.3% to $305 million. It reported that the cost of doing business increased by 3.1% to $1007 million.

Brookes said Myer was pleased with the positive sales growth “despite sales momentum slowing in the second half, particularly in May and June”.

In the year ahead, Brookes said store refurbishments will continue, while growth should be seen in its exclusive brands, new national brands, including cosmetics business Napoleon Perdis, and the launch of new concessions.

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