Online fashion retailer Boohoo has bought Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burtons for £25.2million. Around 260 jobs, mainly head office roles, will be saved as they move the brands to Boohoo. These include jobs in design, buying and merchandising, and the businesses’ digital wings. It is believed 2,450 jobs are at risk, as all Arcadia brands’ physical stores are set to close.

The deal is for the inventory, e-commerce and digital assets of the businesses, which were owned by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia retail empire when it entered administration in December. The acquisition will strengthen boohoo’s position as a leader in the global fashion e-commerce market with over 15 brands across the group’s scalable multi-brand platform.

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John Lyttle, CEO, said: ‘We are delighted to announce the acquisition of the assets associated with the online businesses of the three established brands Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Wallis.

‘Acquiring these well-known brands in British fashion out of administration ensures their heritage is sustained, while our investment aims to transform them into brands that are fit for the current market environment. We have a successful track record of integrating British heritage fashion brands onto our proven multi-brand platform, and we are looking forward to bringing these brands on board.’

Mahmud Kamani, executive chairman, said: ‘This is a great acquisition for the Group as we extend our market share across a broader demographic, capitalising on growth opportunities as more and more customers shop online.

‘We continue to grow our portfolio of brands and customer base, strengthening our position as a leader in global fashion e-commerce.’

Emily Salter, Apparel Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on this news; “The £25.2m acquisition of Dorothy Perkins, Burton and Wallis completes the transition of Philip Green’s former high street empire solely to the online channel in a move that has been facilitated by COVID-19 and will significantly change the face of UK physical retail. Along with the boohoo group’s acquisition of Debenhams, this will diversity its range of brands, with these Arcadia brands a natural fit for Debenhams as an online marketplace. However, with so much already on the boohoo group’s plate, it must ensure they receive the revamp they desperately need instead of letting them fall by the wayside.

“Burton will give the boohoo group the opportunity to grow share in the menswear market, with its wider customer base providing it with a stronger path to potential growth than boohooMAN. However, Burton’s heavy focus on formalwear has been rendered redundant throughout the pandemic, with demand unlikely to fully return as working from home continues, so its product focus will need to be refreshed. Wallis’ core customer is females over 45, a demographic which the boohoo group has little experience of targeting and will be less receptive towards the group’s usual strategy of heavy discounting and social media-led marketing. Dorothy Perkins will be a better fit with the group’s current stable of brands, with a similar shopper base to Oasis and Warehouse, however the group will need to establish a unique selling point for Dorothy Perkins to create differentiation between the brands.”

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