Kering may split with Stella McCartney

After a 17-year partnership, French luxury group Kering is selling its half share of Stella McCartney back to the designer.

Originally to have been announced last month, the move is about to be revealed publicly, according to Business of Fashion.

It has been reported that Stella’s father, former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, is at least partially funding the buy-back.

While an insider says the Stella McCartney HR team is preparing a booklet outlining the details of the separation, both parties have issued a joint statement saying nothing has been confirmed. It says Kering and Stella McCartney have been running the brand since 2001 as a 50/50 JV, with regular discussions about the future of the partnership “as is customary”.

“Any significant change to the relationship would be made public at the appropriate time. Any information circulating in respect of this can only be considered as speculation.”

Meanwhile, the inside source says Kering’s brands will be forbidden from hiring Stella McCartney employees during the transition, which could take as long as two years. London-based retail strategy consulting firm Javelin, part of global advisory firm Accenture, is working with Stella McCartney to reorganise during the transition period, creating a blueprint for the newly independent Stella McCartney business.

On the Stella McCartney website, Kering is listed as a client alongside other fashion brands including Calvin Klein, Jimmy Choo, Net-a-Porter and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as Kering-owned Puma.

Kering had consolidated revenues of €15.5 billion (US$15.2 billion) for its fiscal year ending December 31, up 27.6 per cent on a reported basis. Sales within the luxury group, excluding Cobra, Puma and skate brand Volcom, were up 27.5 per cent.

Stella McCartney first launched as a JV with the Gucci Group, previously a subsidiary of what is now known as Kering, in 2001. 

In the meantime, Stella McCartney plans to open stores in Florence and California, as well as second outlets in Paris and New York City. Last year it assumed control of its three Hong Kong stores, previously managed by a local partner. The brand’s retail store portfolio has 52 locations, with another store on London’s Bond Street on the way.

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