Hilco UK


Restored Middleport Pottery Opens

June 27th, 2014

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This week, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, President of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, officially opened Middleport Pottery, home to world-renowned Burleigh pottery, as a new visitor destination. The site has undergone a £9-million, 3-year programme of regeneration and revitalisation by the Pottery’s owners, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust. It will be fully open to the public from 1 July.

Middleport Pottery is the most complex project ever tackled by The Prince’s Regeneration Trust in its 18 year history. It showcases the charity’s ‘regeneration recipe’ for rescuing an important large scale building whilst at the same time creating life changing opportunities for local people.

Kraus rolls out new carpets across the USA

June 16th, 2014

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Kraus Group has commenced the distribution of new products into almost 2,000 Home Depot stores across the USA in one of the biggest launches in the company’s history. The new product roll out will be completed in mid-July and is set to provide a significant new revenue stream to the resurgent business.

Kraus also reached a record production level during May as its general carpet business across North America continued to show strong growth.

HMV embarks on Games push with senior appointment

June 6th, 2014

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HMV UK is strengthening its presence in the Games category with the appointment of industry veteran Gerry Berkley as Head of Games.

Berkley was responsible for HMV’s initial move into the games market in the 1990s and subsequently worked in various roles in the industry at retailers including GAME, Woolworths, Blockbuster and Shop Direct.

Ian Topping, CEO, commented: “Gerry’s wealth of experience will be particularly useful as we embark on a much more active push into the games market over the next few months.”

George&Freddie to Create 50 New Jobs in Stoke-on-Trent

May 2nd, 2014

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One of the UK’s fastest growing online retailers, a part of the Hilco Capital Group, has opened a new 50,000 sq ft distribution centre in its drive to meet ambitious growth targets.

Stoke-on-Trent-based George&Freddie, which already employs 150 people at its 90,000 sq ft site in Burslem, has occupied the former Hanley Glass and China site in North Staffordshire and is creating an additional 50 jobs as part of a major expansion plan.
George&Freddie sells surplus stock from a number of major retailers and manufacturers direct to consumers. Products include everything from trendy trainers and computer games to top of the range electrical goods like laptops and TVs.

The expansion coincides with the business’ major recruitment drive to strengthen its e-commerce team, seeking web designers and developers to create and maintain a number of best in class websites.
George&Freddie is also recruiting a Head of Online Marketing to drive sales to a targeted £40million in the next financial year.

Managing Director, Ian Ferguson, said:
“We’re building a team to take the business to the next stage of growth. That means raising the company’s profile, a re-branding and providing even more accessible channels to buy a George&Freddie bargain.”

Hilco Capital Chief Executive, Paul McGowan commented:
“After only two years of trading George&Freddie has outgrown the existing facility in Burslem and with further growth so far this year of over 40% we have decided to invest in an additional distribution centre in the local area where we also own the Burleigh and Poole Pottery businesses.”

Denby Creates 37 New Manufacturing Jobs as Exports Boom

May 1st, 2014

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Denby Pottery, the Derbyshire-based business which also owns the Burleigh, Poole and Hartley Greens potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, has today announced the recruitment of 37 additional manufacturing jobs at its main facility at Denby, Derbyshire.

The new recruits will be starting over the next few weeks in response to booming demand for the company’s stoneware products in overseas markets. Sales to export countries such as Korea and Canada have increased by 62% in the first quarter of 2014 resulting in additional manufacturing requirements in the UK.

The new hires bring the total number of manufacturing jobs at the Denby site to 238. An additional 86 staff are employed at the Middleport Pottery building in Burslem, Staffordshire which is in the process of a major redevelopment under the auspices of the Prince’s Regeneration Trust. Overall, the Denby Pottery Group employs 783 people in the UK.

Paul McGowan, CEO of Denby owner, Hilco Capital, comments:

“Our investment in export activities over recent years is bearing fruit, especially in the Korean and Canadian markets. Whilst the growth figures for the first quarter are impressive we expect even higher levels of growth in the current quarter given the record level of our export order book.”

“The Denby business has seen volume growth every year since we acquired it in 2009 and overall business increased by an impressive 5% in the first quarter of this year, despite the closure of our North American distribution centre for an entire month due to weather disruption.”

The addition of the 37 new jobs will enable Denby to increase production to almost 120,000 pieces of British-made pottery every week.

Garry Biggs, Managing Director of Denby Pottery commented:

“It is satisfying to see the growing level of interest in our Denby-made stoneware products in so many overseas markets, particularly in Korea which we anticipate will become Denby’s largest overseas market within the next two years. Only recently we had to relocate our distribution centre to a larger, modern facility in Derby to accommodate the additional business to different channels, so we are pleased that the rate of growth has also accelerated overseas in such a strong way.”

Hilco Capital also confirmed that it had received 27 expressions of interest when it appointed Canaccord Genuity to sell the Denby business last month. To date seven firm offers have been made for the business and negotiations are continuing with those parties which include major international homewares brands and financial investors.

Paul McGowan said:

“We are very pleased with the high level of interest received for this great British brand and the highly efficient manufacturing facility at Denby. We continue to negotiate with all interested parties and hope to make a positive announcement in the coming months which will enable the Denby business to continue its growth around the world.”

Hilco Capital Newsletter Q1 2014

April 25th, 2014

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The Hilco Capital Newsletter for Q1 2014 is out now, click here to download a PDF.

HMV to open on Grafton Street in Dublin

March 7th, 2014

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HMV and Xtra-vision owner Hilco Capital today announced that it will open a new store on Dublin’s Grafton Street.

The new store will be located at the old A-wear premises. An opening date for the store will be announced in the near future.

35 new jobs will be created at the new store, which brings the total number of people employed by HMV and Xtra-vision in Ireland to over 1,000.

This announcement brings the total number of HMV stores in Ireland to seven, with stores already open at Henry Street, Dundrum Town Centre and Liffey Valley in Dublin; Crescent Shopping Centre in Limerick, at the Quays Shopping Centre in Newry and Donegal Arcade in Belfast. In addition, 37 dual branded Xtra-vision and HMV stores opened around the country in 2013 and early 2014, with a further 11 locations opening over the next month.

Larry Howard, CEO of Hilco Capital Ireland: “HMV returning to Grafton Street has been a priority for Hilco Capital, and we’re delighted to have secured this premises. We’re looking forward to bringing this iconic brand back to its spiritual home in Ireland.”

Re:Capital Australia acquires Hillier’s Chocolates

February 17th, 2014

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Re:Capital, the Australian arm of Hilco Capital, today announced that it has acquired Ernest Hillier Pty Ltd (“Hillier’s Chocolates”), the private Melbourne-based chocolatier.

The transaction represents Re:Capital’s second investment in Australia. The sale also forms part of Hillier’s planned succession, as its former owners, the Piedimonte family, focus on other business interests.

Ernest Hillier was founded in 1914 and operates under the Hillier’s and Newman’s brands. The company’s products are sold in a variety of retail and wholesale locations across Australia.

Recognising the strong heritage of this iconic Australian brand, Re:Capital is committed to preserving the Hillier’s Chocolates name and corporate identity as well as its facilities. The business will continue to be run by the current Chief Executive Officer Mark Campbell.

Re:Capital will maintain Hillier’s current domestic presence as well as expand into new regions domestically and internationally. As part of the transaction Re:Capital will provide the working capital and operational expertise necessary to secure the long-term future of the business.

Paul McGowan, Global CEO of Re:Capital, said: “Ernest Hillier is a very strong brand in the Australian market and we are happy to have this as our second investment in Australia. As we invest funds into Australia to help Ernest Hillier and similar businesses grow, we can also capitalise on our global network to help take Ernest Hillier’s great reputation for quality products to a worldwide audience.”

Mark Campbell, CEO of Hillier’s Chocolates, said: “We are delighted to welcome our new owners to the Hillier’s family, and see this as an exciting time full of opportunity for the business and our staff.  For nearly 100 years we’ve built our reputation for the highest quality confections in Australia, and Re:Capital is the right owner to take the Hillier’s business to the next stage of growth.”

James Turner, Investment Director for Re:Capital Australia, said: “Hillier’s is the kind of business we enjoy working with.  It has a great brand, a high-quality product and many opportunities for segment growth.”

HMV Ireland to open more concessions

February 13th, 2014

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Hilco Capital’s Irish entertainment business, Xtra-vision, has confirmed that the first two of a further 15 HMV concessions will be opened in its stores at Finglas and Tallaght this weekend. The Tallaght Xtra-vision store has been relocated to a larger store on Belgard Road specifically to create sufficient space to incorporate HMV.

The new openings will bring the number of HMV concessions to 46 across Ireland. HMV Ireland also operates six full range stores at Henry Street, Dublin, Dundrum, Liffey Valley, Limerick, Belfast and Newry. The Belfast store is Ireland’s largest entertainment retail outlet.

Hilco Capital appoints Canaccord Genuity to sell Denby Holdings Group

February 2nd, 2014

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Hilco Capital has appointed Canaccord Genuity to seek purchasers for Denby Holdings Group, the manufacturer of high quality tableware, which includes the Denby, Burleigh, Poole and HartleyGreens pottery brands.

Given Denby’s strong trading performance and increased customer demand across the world, Hilco Capital has received a number of unsolicited approaches from trade buyers seeking to purchase the business and believes that now is an ideal time to explore the Group’s future opportunities. Hilco has appointed Canaccord Genuity, a leading global, independent financial services firm, to pursue possible sale options.

The Denby Group witnessed strong trading performance throughout 2013. The brand is synonymous with British heritage, design and quality and is popular with consumers across the globe. The Company recently reported a strong fourth quarter, leading to total sales of the ‘Denby branded product reaching £44m ($73m), an increase of 10% on the prior year.

A year of intensive focus on export markets resulted in Denby’s business in North America and the Far East, in particular, growing at record rates to reach £12m ($18m) and the business enters 2014 with a healthy order book across its major markets.

Paul McGowan, CEO of Hilco Capital said: “Following a strong performance in 2013, particularly in key export markets, we have received a number of unsolicited approaches from trade buyers seeking to purchase the business. As a result of this interest, we have thought it appropriate to appoint advisors to run a formal sale process.”

“We have been very happy with the progress of the Denby group to date and we recognise that a major international player may be able to further expand the Denby businesses faster than we can achieve.”