Best foot forward for Moda in Pelle after £3.5m deal

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WOMEN’s FASHION shoe retailer Moda in Pelle has attracted £3.5m in investment from the Business Growth Fund.

The Leeds company will use the funding to open new footwear stores, refurbish existing ones and develop its website and other e-commerce channels.

Judith Pilkington, the former chief executive of luxury beauty product firm SpaceNK, has been brought in as non-executive chairman.

She will work alongside new CEO David Inglis, a multi-channel specialist and former senior executive at Asda, and Stephen Buck, who founded the business in Merrion Street in 1975.

Mr Buck and wife Claire remain majority shareholders of the company, which has nearly 60 stores and concessions across the UK.

Richard Taylor, BGF investment director in Yorkshire, said the Moda in Pelle deal was “a good opportunity” as an established company with a loyal customer base.

He added: “The business was looking for funding to accelerate its stores and concessions and also build on its fast-growing online offering.”

BGF’s due diligence of Moda in Pelle included the company’s administration in 2006; “it was overleveraged at the time,” said Mr Taylor.

Mr Inglis, who started as chief executive yesterday, has been advising the company for the last year. Sales will hit £20m this year.

He told the YEP: “I found a business that had a great product but did not have the cash to make the brand around it grow in the way it should be.”

Moda in Pelle sources shoes from manufacturers in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and China.

Mr Buck, 56, said: “Over the past 40 years, we’ve created a tremendous amount of brand capital among a loyal customer base by focusing on quality design and manufacturing.

“After a particularly strong period of growth, we want to pursue new opportunities to fully exploit the brand’s potential.

“David has an acute understanding of what we want to achieve, and brings with him energy, determination and strong background in the retail sector. I’m delighted that he will be joining the team.”

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