Fast-growing Swindon online shopping group Scotts & Co has added another brand to its expanding portfolio after buying country clothing business Rowland’s out of administration.
Rowland’s, originally based in Bath, went bust for the second time in March, two years after it was saved by Rosemex Trading, a private equity-owned London-based group.
Scotts & Co, based on Swindon’s Groundwell industrial estate, said it will take on two of Rowland’s former 55 staff, most of whom worked in its stores its nine stores. Rowlands, which targets women aged 50-plus, also sold through its catalogues and website.
According to fashion industry website Drapers, Scotts & Co had made no secret of its ambition to acquire a mid-market womenswear brand and had previously expressed interest in Rowland’s.
Scotts & Co chairman Nigel Swabey told the site: “Having tracked the company over the past 15 years, we identified a strong affinity between our customer base and the Rowland’s brand.”
He said Rowland’s would be relaunched next February under its original name Rowlands of Bath.
“This is a business that lost its way and needs to return to its roots,” he added. “The process needs to start with a complete redesign and rebalancing of the product range.
“Our aim is to create a collection that honours the tradition of Rowlands of Bath as a retailer of high-quality clothing for customers aged 55-plus.”
Scotts & Co now owns 10 businesses – including home-shopping womenswear retailers Artigiano and Prelude – and claims to have the largest database of “affluent, 55-plus female mail-order buyers” in the UK.
The Rowland’s deal is Scotts & Co’s second acquisition of an established-but-failed brand this month. It recently bought the business assets of MySmartBuy.com, an online retail business specialising in electronics, garden electricals, and household products, after the company ceased trading in March and was later declared insolvent.
The business is similar in character to Scotts & Co’s brand The Verdict.