JD Sports has completed the sale of distributor Focus Brands to Sri Lanka-based Hela Apparel Holdings. Focus Brands, which manages popular brands like Ellesse, Nautica, Yogi, and Avirex, was acquired by JD Sports in 2011. However, JD Sports is now selling off non-core assets to focus on its primary sports retail and outdoor business. The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

For Hela Apparel Holdings, this acquisition is a crucial step towards becoming a fully vertically integrated service provider in the apparel sector. Focus Brands will serve as the foundation for Hela’s new brand licensing division and will continue operating independently in the near future.

The purchase of Focus Brands also grants Hela access to a wide market, as Focus currently holds exclusive licensing rights for Ellesse and Nautica in the EU and beyond. Focus has showrooms in major European cities such as London, Berlin, and Amsterdam, as well as a sourcing office in China and warehouse facilities in the UK and Europe.

A R Rasiah, the Chairman of Hela Apparel Holdings, expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition, describing it as a “watershed moment” for the company. Rasiah believes that there is significant potential to capitalize on synergies with Hela’s existing manufacturing business and utilize Focus Brands’ expertise in design, product development, marketing, and distribution.

Ray Evans, the newly appointed CEO of Focus Brands, also expressed excitement about the acquisition and the opportunity to collaborate with Hela. He plans to build upon Focus Brands’ established reputation in the global sports and streetwear industries.

Dr Alastair Alderton, the new chairman of Focus Brands and CEO of Rianta Capital (Hela’s largest shareholder), emphasized the plans to revive, differentiate, and expand the brands within the Focus portfolio while maintaining their unique DNA. He is confident in the prospects of brands like Ellesse and Nautica and looks forward to supporting both Hela and Focus Brands on their journey.

In summary, the sale of Focus Brands to Hela Apparel Holdings is a strategic move for both companies. Hela seeks to expand its services and establish a prominent position in the apparel sector, while Focus Brands will benefit from Hela’s manufacturing capabilities and support to further grow its brands.

Useful links:
1. JD Sports
2. Hela Apparel Holdings