BATH, England - U.K. online retailer Lovehoney has acquired high-end erotic retailer Coco de Mer, which was founded by Sam Roddick in 2001.
The deal gives Lovehoney its first high street presence and the opportunity to develop Coco de Mer as the world’s leading luxury ethical erotic brand, the company said in a press release.
Established in 2002 by business partners Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst, Lovehoney said it has achieved significant success within the U.K. retail sector, achieving in excess of 30 percent year-on-year growth for the past three years despite the economic downturn. The company reports a turn over of more than $20 million in the financial year ending March 2011, with pre-tax profits of $1.7 million.
With its flagship store in Covent Garden, Coco de Mer is considered one of London’s most luxurious shopping destinations and was recently voted one of London’s Top 100 Best Shops by Time Out. According to Lovehoney, the Coco de Mer brand is known for its range of ethically sourced designer lingerie, sex toys, jewelry and erotic art and boasts countless A-List celebrity customers.
“Neal and Richard share my passion for legitimizing and promoting positive discussion about eroticism and sex,” Roddick said. “I believe that in their hands Coco de Mer will continue to offer customers a unique and highly personalized experience, a wide array of exclusive and ethical products as well access to information for those who don’t follow the conventions of mainstream society.”
Roddick will take on an informal role within the company, advising on positioning and product development, while continuing with her passion for activism and bringing about positive change in the world, the company said.
“Over the past 10 years Sam has made Coco de Mer a uniquely powerful proposition and her dedication to promoting a frank and open discussion about the enjoyment of sex has been uncompromising,” Longhurst said. “We’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to continue to develop Sam’s groundbreaking work and make Coco de Mer the world’s leading luxury erotica brand.”
Lovehoney said that Coco de Mer will remain a luxury brand with a high-end product range and will maintain the ethos Sam Roddick developed. Lovehoney said it will invest in the Covent Garden store and will extend Coco de Mer’s range of own-brand products for sale direct to retail customers in the U.K.and leverage Lovehoney’s distribution and fulfillment network in Europe, U.S., Australia and Asia.
The new owners also will overhaul the company’s online operation while maintaining the look and feel of the brand, the company said.
The deal between Lovehoney and Coco de Mer was created and negotiated by Ranjit Singh, Coco de Mer’s Chief Executive. Ranjit, who has previously worked with global brands including Virgin and The Body Shop, was brought into Coco de Mer 12 months ago in order to restructure the company ready for a sale.
“I am delighted that the deal has gone through as the synergy between the two brands is undeniable and I have no doubt that Coco de Mer, under the control of Lovehoney, will go from strength to strength,” Ranjit said.