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After a sluggish 2016, the established retail apparel industry could be looking at yet another year of volatility, as the influence of e-commerce and the changing demographics of the consumer, intensify the uncertainty within an industry which is primarily consumer-driven,…

After a sluggish 2016, the established retail apparel industry could be looking at yet another year of volatility, as the influence of e-commerce and the changing demographics of the consumer, intensify the uncertainty within an industry which is primarily consumer-driven, even as brick-and-mortar stores find their days numbered.

Recent deal activity in the sector could mean that several investment firms, as well as companies looking to acquire, are perhaps moving to extract specific opportunities amidst the uncertainty by focusing on athletic wear or ‘athleisure’, value and affordable luxury, and children’s apparel and accessories. A McKinsey report has predicted that the value and affordable luxury sub-sectors will continue to grow in 2017, and could outperform the industry average.

Here’s a look at some of the retail and apparel offers and deals that occurred in the past few weeks –

Hillhouse Capital and CDH Investments offered to buy Belle

A consortium led by private equity firms, Hillhouse Capital Group and CDH Investments offered to buy shoe retailer, Belle International Holdings Ltd. The deal valued the Hong Kong-listed company at $6.8 billion, according to a Reuters report. Belle had mentioned in its securities filing that it was experiencing challenges, particularly from e-commerce and shopping malls that compete with its main sales channels.

Webster Capital bought clothing brand, Matilda Jane

Massachusetts-based private equity firm, Webster Capital, acquired clothing brand Matilda Jane from CID Capital. Matilda Jane sells specialty apparel and accessories for girls, babies, tweens and women. Financial terms of this deal were not disclosed.

Funko LLC acquired Loungefly

Funko LLC, which is backed by ACON Investments LLC, acquired Loungefly, a designer and seller of handbags and fashion accessories, under popular licensed brands such as Disney, Hello Kitty and My Little Pony. The deal has enabled Funko to enter the accessories and handbags category, as well as use its existing distribution channels to market Loungefly’s line of products.

South Africa’s TFG moved to acquire Retail Apparel Group

South African retailer, TFG (The Foschini Group), announced its acquisition of Australian value menswear retailer, Retail Apparel Group (RAG) for approximately $226.78 million, according to a Reuters report. The deal will add to The Foschini Group’s existing ownership of 22 retail brands, which is spread across menswear and women’s apparel, jewellery, sporting and outdoor apparel. The acquisition has enabled TFG to expand to a new geography – a move which the group had been planning for some time.

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