Working those heels


The sale of premium fashion house and shoe brand Jimmy Choo for £500m highlights the resilience of the luxury sector during the global downturn. The sum is nearly three times the sum paid by private-equity group TowerBrook Capital Partners, just four years ago. Sat Bal (24 May 11)

Stiletto siren Tamara Mellon (above) is the glamorous face of Jimmy Choo and a walking advertisement for the brand whose exotic creations are trotted along red carpets the world over by actresses, singers and socialites.

The purchase of the brand by Labelux is estimated to have earned Tamara Mellon £85m for a 17% stake. Not bad for an initial investment of £150,000 which was made by the entrepreneur in 1996 with her then partner Jimmy Choo. While Mr Choo parted company with his company back in 2001, Ms Mellon is to stay on as creative director with the new owner.

Labelux, the luxury goods group is backed by Germany's billionaire Reimann family whose interests include Swiss luxury brand Bally..

Tamara Mellon said the deal was "wonderful news for the women who are, or who aspire to become, part of the Jimmy Choo lifestyle".

That lifestyle means a collection of ornate shoes costing anything up to £2,000 a pair; not an issue for the well-heeled consumers who have helped the Jimmy Choo group boasts more than 100 stores in 32 countries.

The global demand for luxury products runs counter to recessionary consumer culture and figures show strong performance across the premium board. Indeed, sales are expected to top £150bn in 2011 – a record for this sector.  

 Reimann family chief executive Reinhard Mieck echoed the buoyant mood citing  "substantial potential" for the brand, in Asian territories particularly.

Tamara Mellon and the company are to reinvest in the group and further cement its global presence. With the brand cachet so strong it’s doubtful that we’ll see the Jimmy Choo diluted with a Designers at Debenhams display anytime soon…


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