Consumer sector comment- December 2012

Date

One of the most interesting deals this month was the acquisition by Asos of a 30% stake in Covetique. Covetique’s website buys and sells pre-owned designer clothing from labels including Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood, Burberry and Alexander McQueen. In terms of added value, the site offers free courier collection, quality checking, uthentication, pricing, photo production, editorial and shipping. Asos has appointed a senior board representative to help the firm grow over the next few years.

The trend for vintage fashion has been booming to such an extent that sourcing has become increasingly competitive.There have been reports of buyers from other European countries, where markets are less developed, coming over to the UK to buy stock. The sector has therefore had to become more innovative. One vintage clothing retailer, Beyond Retro, sources the majority of its stock from North America. The company has been expanding rapidly and now has an 8 stores, including London, Brighton and 4 in Sweden.

As well as highlighting increased interest in vintage fashion, the Asos transaction also taps into consumer trends arising from the weak economic climate. As shoppers have been forced to tighten their belts, there has been increasing acceptance of purchasing used goods. Annual income at UK charity shops increased 34% last year to an all-time high of close to £1 billion, with almost half the population purchasing something from a charity shop. We can expect this to continue, with value for money set to be an on-going theme in the consumer space.

Deals

Pizza Hut Ltd has been sold by the US firm Yum! to Rutland Partners, an investment and private equity group. The group has pledged to invest £20m into the pizza restaurant chain. Yum! will still receive royalties from Rutland and has decided to keep the Pizza Hut delivery business in the UK.

Super Cig Ltd., a manufacturer of electronic cigarettes and related accessories, has acquired eCigarette.co.uk for an undisclosed value. eCigarette will distribute Super Cig’s electronic cigarettes and e-liquid products.

ASOS Plc has acquired a 30% stake in Covetique Ltd a firm focused on buying and selling pre-owned designer clothing. The move is seen as an attempt to further penetrate the luxury resale market.

Hancocks Group Holdings Ltd, the UK’s leading confectionary wholesaler, has been acquired by H2 Equity Partners for £50m. Investec which provided H2 with the funding stated that Hancocks has a clear leadership position in a niche market and a strong value proposition to its client base.

The licensed chocolate manufacturer Zetar Plc has been acquired by Zertus GmbH, a German food group for £43m. Zertus which owns brands such as Dextro Energy and Loser wafer brands paid 297 pence per share.

Andronicas Coffee Co. Ltd, a specialist premium roaster, has been acquired by United Coffee Ltd, a leading coffee solutions provider and wholesaler. Andronicas will maintain its branding and will become a stand-alone brand in United Coffee.

Golf Concierge Ltd, a tour operator specialising in golfing breaks, has been acquired by Minoan Group Plc further strengthening their golf division. The move is in line with their strategy of increasing the offering in niche services and acquiring larger targets.

Rominda Sports Ltd, a cricket equipment supplier, has been bought out of administration by Extra Cover Cricket Ltd., a retailer headquartered in Hemel Hempstead. Mr Woodard managing director of Extra Cover Cricket said: “We are delighted to be able to create 12 jobs on the back of this takeover and we look forward to serving Rominda’s loyal customers in the future.”