Ann Summers to sell Knickerbox brand

Ann Summers has confirmed it is putting its Knickerbox business up for sale in order to focus on its own core “unique” adult lingerie offering.

Ann Summers has confirmed it will sell the Knickerbox brand it bought 14 years ago in order to focus on its core adult range.

The retailer has appointed accountants KPMG to advise on the sale, which could see the Knickerbox brand offloaded to another retailer or department store such as Tesco or Debenhams.

Ann Summers bought the Knickerbox business in 2000, at a time when the latter business was loss-making and had 33 branded stores. 

The brand, which is made up of more feminine and comfortable lingerie than the risqué products its owner offers, has since been integrated in Ann Summers’ 143 stores, online and into Ann Summers parties.

Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold says: “Knickerbox has been a very successful part of the Ann Summers brand for over 13 years and we have made this decision as part of a wider strategic plan that we believe will allow us to experience continued growth and brand development.”

KPMG’s head of retail, David McCorquodale, says the Knickerbox brand has a “strong identity and respected market position”, which the accountants envisage will see the brand sitting with retailer that can reach a broader section of its customer base rather than its current positioning.

Ann Summers reported a £1.2m uplift in pre-tax profit to £4m in the 12 months to 30 June 2012, its most recently reported financial year, against a sales increase of 1.7 per cent to £118m. Ann Summers credited a brand identity overhaul, website redesign and more fashion-led products for the strong sales performance. 

It is also likely the success of the EL James erotic novel series Fifty Shades of Grey may have helped Ann Summers continue its sales success in the 2013 fiscal year, which the company will report in April.