Will French Connection shift online?

French Connection shareholders must be relieved to be getting shot of a business that has seen a slow attrition in its sales and brand equity for more than 10 years. £29 million looks cheap given that the company turned over just shy of £120m to January 2020, but after the crisis hit, that figure fell by more than 50% in first half 2020, leading to turnover of under £70.5m to January 2021.

The new owners, Apinder Singh Ghura, who already owns 25%, Amarjit Singh Grewal and KJR Brothers, should be able to get back their investment pretty quickly, but it is reasonable to predict that the business will not be stores-heavy for long.

With 67 stores and concessions in the UK, and 161 franchise and licenced outlets abroad, the future is much more likely to follow the Boohoo online fashion model. There is cash to ramp up the online presence and to start going cross border with a D2C model working with tech partners that can do the distribution and front end payments, as well as use their local experience to manage multiple tax and regulatory requirements.

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