Bloomberg News

London’s Liberty Mulls Opening First Mall Stores

March 02, 2012

Liberty (LBE), the 137-year-old London department-store company known for its Tudor-style building and luxury fabrics, is considering opening smaller-format stores in London shopping malls to capitalize on Olympics-related demand, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Liberty, owned by London-based private-equity firm BlueGem Capital Partners LLP, is looking at two premium locations, according to one person, who couldn’t be identified because the deals haven’t been completed. Liberty declined to comment.

The retailer’s 70,000 square-foot (6,500 square-meter) Regent Street store sells products from international and British designers such as Vivienne Westwood alongside its own Liberty London range. A previous satellite store was closed in 2009 after one year when the retailer received an offer on the lease of the outlet on London’s Sloane Street.

Visa Europe predicts that U.K. consumer spending will increase by an additional 750 million pounds ($1.2 billion) during the seven weeks spanning the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The games start in London on July 27.

The Liberty department store, established by Arthur Liberty in 1875, sells luxury items such as 955-pound Peter Pilotto silk dresses on six floors. BlueGem acquired the retailer in 2010, including the company’s wholesale fabrics business. BlueGem was established in 2006 by former Merrill Lynch bankers including Marco Capello and Emilio Di Spiezio Sardo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Shannon in London at sshannon4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sara Marley at smarley1@bloomberg.net


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