Debenhams will continue to expand its concession partnership with Blow, despite the bespoke beauticians putting themselves up for sale.
In a joint statement, both companies commit to working together to expand the current number of in-store concessions from three to five by the autumn.
A spokesman said there continues to be “a strong partnership” between the two firms after media reports suggested the relationship has deteriorated in the past year.
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Speculation about the relationship has arisen since Blow’s backers sought the services of a boutique investment bank to find a buyer for the beauticians, with sources suggesting the brand is likely to be valued at over £50m.
This would result in Debenhams being repaid for the 20 per cent stake it took in the company last autumn for £7.5m. Interested buyers are said to include Unilever, Estee Lauder, Coty and Boots.
But despite concern that Blow will no longer invest any further money into the partnership, a joint statement confirms planned expansions will go ahead.
A spokesman said: “Blow LTD and Debenhams have established a strong partnership and continue to work together to grow beauty services in Debenhams stores.
“Debenhams’ digitally-integrated beauty hall of the future, incorporating Blow’s beauty bars, will open in stores at Meadowhall and Watford this autumn.”
Blow was established in 2013 by Grazia magazine’s launch editor Fiona McIntosh and venture capitalist Dharmash Mistry and counts Wimbledon champion Andy Murray among its investors.
Its main Business model involves sending its army of 1000 self-employed stylists to customers’ own homes via online booking.
Debenhams bought into the beauticians, which provide services ranging from manicures to bikini waxing, last year in a drive to expand their offer and help turn around the chain’s flagging fortunes.
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However, since the tie-up the department store has issued three profit warnings as it struggles to compete with online retailers leaving its battered share price down 70 per cent over the period at 12.75p.
This has caused frustration among key investors, such as Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley who controls just under a third of Debenhams’ shares.
Ashley has criticised chief executive Sergio Bucher and chairman Sir Ian Cheshire for allegedly ignoring his suggestion to charge customers to click and collect.
Recent weeks have seen research firm The Analyst describe Debenhams shares as “worthless”, despite the company saying it expects to make pre-tax profits of between £35m and £40m this year.
Blow was unavailable for individual comment.
Source : CityA.M.