Who Owns Our High Street Fashion Brands?

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When we shop, we often don’t give a second thought as to who owns some of our favourite high street fashion brands. These stores have been a fixture on our high streets around the world for so long, so voucher code website www.myvouchercodes.co.uk researched who actually owns our major fashion retailers.

Today some of our biggest fashion retailers are controlled 4 main companies; Arcadia, Gap Inc., Inditex and H&M. These companies control large shares of the fashion market, covering stores such as Topshop, Gap, Zara and H&M as well as many subsidiary companies such as Dorothy Perkins, Banana Republic, Pull & Bear and COS.

The Big Fashion Brands

high street fashion brands ownership.
Ownership of High Street fashion brands.

H&M Group

Founded in 1947 by Erling Persson, H&M has grown to be the biggest high street fashion retailer. It has an annual net income of £1.7 billion and 6 fashion retailers in the group: H&M COS, Cheap Monday, Monki, Weekday and & Other Stories. Cheap Monday was founded by Örjan Andersson and Adam Friberg in 2000, before being acquired by H&M Group in 2008, whilst the remaining companies were formed by the retailer during the last 15 years. The Persson family are still involved with running the holding company.

Inditex

Run by Amancio Ortega, Inditex owns 8 international fashion brands; Zara, Zara Home, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Oysho and Uterque. Amancio Ortega and Rosalía Mera founded Zara in 1975. They introduced new retailers to the umbrella and formed the holding company Inditex, they also bought Stradivarius to add under their retail umbrella. Today Inditex has an annual net income of £903 million, whilst owner Amanico Ortega is worth in the region of £50 billion and is the richest man in Europe and the wealthiest retailer in the world.

GAP Inc.

Fashion retailer, Gap was founded by Donald Fisher and Doris F. Fisher in 1969. Over the years they have purchased Banana Republic (in 1983) and founded Old Navy (1994), Intermix (1993) and Athleta (2009). The holding company, GAP Inc. has an annual net income of £684 million, whilst the family of Gap’s founders, Donald and Doris, are still actively involved with the company.

Arcadia Group

Formally known as the Burton Group, Acadia Group hold some of the most popular UK high street brands. In 1904 Montague Burton, founded Burton’s menswear. Over the next 100 years, the company took over department store Peter Robinson (which founded Topshop and Topman), Miss Selfridge (founded by department store Selfridges), Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Evans and Outfit. Annually Arcadia Group has a net income of £205 million and is led by Sir Philip Green.

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters was founded in 1970 by Richard Hayne and Scott Belair. Its annual net income is £163 million and founder Richard Hayne is currently the CEO of the group which also owns Free People, Anthropologie, Terrain and BHLDN. Both Free People and Anthropologie were founded by Richard Haye in 1984 and 1992, respectively, whilst Terrain and BHLDN were formed in 2008 and 2011 respectively under the umbrella of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.

French Connection

In 1972 Stephen Marks founded French Connection and in 1978 he brought on board designer Nicole Farhi to continue working on the brands identifiable style. In the following years it acquired via investment, YMC in the 1990’s and then in early 2000, it acquired Toast. Currently the group brings in an annual net income of £15 million with founder Stephen Marks the current chairman and chief executive.

Peter Simon

Monsoon and Accessorize were founded by Peter Simon, Monsoon in 1973 and Accessorize in 1984, Peter Simon still runs both businesses with Paul Allen as the Chairman and they see an annual net income of £54 million.

The new kids on the block

Kamani Family

In 2006 online fashion retailer Boohoo was launched in Manchester by Mahmud Kamani, in 2014, he floated the business, the family hold 40% of the shares which include 24% held by Mahmud. Boohoo has an annual net income of £9M. In 2011, keeping it in the family business brothers Umar and Adam Kamani founded Pretty Little Things, another online fashion retailer, based in Manchester. Currently Pretty Little Things has seen a good rise in sales, with promotion by a slew of celebrities. These two fashion brands are certainly on their way up!

Chris Reilly General Manager of My Voucher Codes said:

“People rarely think twice about who actually owns their favourite retailers when shopping, just like most people probably don’t think about who owns their favourite grocery brands. But it is interesting to see how much fashion retail businesses make and which companies are tied together by the same holding company.”

He added:

“Like many things, we are starting to see smaller companies formed and launching, mainly online and taking a chunk of the market from existing retailers. With new online stores, companies have less start-up costs because they don’t need retail space and staff, with websites as their main platforms, business can form faster. However they can also fail faster.”

Anne Lawson is a British writer who keeps her eye on business and trending issues that affect us all. She loves to delve into the real story and give us interesting tidbits we might otherwise miss.