A look from Dorthy Perkins’ latest collection
The trio of brands have two million active customers combined, which is a drop in the ocean compared to Boohoo’s 17.4 million, but may have been one of the more attractive reasons to acquire them. Far from simply being an ultra fast fashion chain aimed at Generation Z, Boohoo has rapidly become a retail empire. Not only did it buy the Debenhams brand name and website last month, but it also now owns other former casualties including Coast, Oasis and Warehouse, scrapping their stores and keeping the brands in identikit deals. All the more reason why the acquisition of Wallis, Dorothy Perkins and Burton is puzzling.
Last year, Lyttle told The Telegraph that he and Boohoo founder Mahmud Kamani were inspired by the model of Spain’s Inditex group for the future of Boohoo. The Zara-owner’s multi-generational portfolio has made Amancio Ortega, its head, one of the world’s wealthiest men.
‘At the young fashion end, they’ve got Bershka, Pull and Bear and Stradivarius,” he said, “while we’ve got Pretty Little Thing, Boohoo, Nasty Gal and MissPap. We were missing the [higher-end] ‘Massimo Dutti’, and we felt that’s what we could create with Karen Millen and Coast. Karen Millen in particular had huge fashion credentials which it had lost in the last couple of years, but we think we can bring it back again at that higher quality and price point. Once we had that, we missed that middle [mid-range] piece, like a Zara option. Oasis and Warehouse had the right fashion history – we think we could rebuild those too.’