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  1. Wealth
September 28, 2009

Obs: Hermès buying Asprey’s Bond St shop, maybe more

By Spear's

Hermès, the luxury French fashion house, has exchanged contracts to buy the Bond Street shop that Asprey occupies for £75m and is thought to have ambitions to acquire the struggling historic jewellery business.

From the Observer:

Hermès, the luxury French fashion house, has exchanged contracts to buy the Bond Street shop that Asprey occupies for £75m and is thought to have ambitions to acquire the struggling historic jewellery business.

Hermès, which is majority-owned by its founding family with about 30% floated on Euronext, is about to buy the building from Quinlan Private, run by a former Irish tax inspector turned property mogul. Hermès beat Chanel to the store.

The 172-year-old high fashion house refused to comment on the purchase, which will produce a yield of around 3%, the most aggressive price paid for a Bond Street shop for at least 18 months. It was tight-lipped on any further plans.

But insiders say the family-controlled company feted by Nicole Kidman and Elizabeth Hurley is viewing the deal as a way to expand its successful business, which is defying the retail downturn. Its latest six-month sales figures revealed turnover up 7.6% to euro 874.9m (£788m) in what is a difficult market for luxury brands. Its own shops have seen sales surge by 19%.

Hermès’s performance is in marked contrast to Asprey’s. Accountants to the firm earlier this year questioned the ability of Asprey to continue as a going concern after it tumbled into the red, saying it relied on the goodwill of its shareholders to keep it afloat.

To read the full story, visit guardian.co.uk

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