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Duchess of Cambridge favourite Hobbs snapped up by Foschini

Hobbs, the fashion retailer favoured by the Duchess of Cambridge, is joining a growing list of British retailers falling into South African hands.
Foschini Group, which has already snapped up Whistles, Phase Eight and Damsel in a Dress, confirmed that it had struck a deal for Hobbs despite downbeat noises about the health of the high street.
Ben Barnett, chief executive of TFG, parent group of Foschini, said that he continued to see "opportunities for organic growth, both in the UK and internationally, despite the well-publicised challenges in the UK market".
Duchess of Cambridge favourite Hobbs snapped up by Foschini

The Duchess of Cambridge wearing a Hobbs coat
Private equity owner 3i, which bought Hobbs for ?111m in 2004, hired advisers at Rothschild at the start of the year to explore an ?80m sale of the business. It is understood that the deal with Foschini valued Hobbs at less than the asking price. 
The retailer, which has been led by Meg Lustman since 2014, recently reported a 9pc lift in sales to ?119.5m in the year to January 28 while gross profits grew from ?70.1m o ?76.2m. 
Hobbs, which is known for its formal womenswear, has more than 140 shops and concessions across the UK and recently opened its first standalone store in the US in Greenwich, Connecticut. 
Mr Barnett said that Foschini would focus on "maximising the success of their well-established UK presence" but also "leveraging the international appeal of the brand" with more concession partners and a better online proposition. 
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