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Nogales invests in children's apparel retailer Naartjie

19
Aug '08
Nogales Investors, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm, has announced a $15 million equity investment in Naartjie Custom Kids Inc, a branded retailer for children's clothing. The investment will enable the company to significantly expand their store base throughout the United States as well as their e-commerce business.

Naartjie primarily focuses on designing, manufacturing and selling high-quality children's clothing at competitive prices. The retailer designs and introduces 11 new, fashion-forward collections each year, ensuring their clothes are always kid-friendly. The Naartjie brand is a successful synthesis of several design elements that make it distinctive, inspirational and very popular.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Naartjie was founded nearly 20 years ago in Cape Town, South Africa, by designer Anne Eales. The worldwide rights to the brand were purchased in 2001 and over the past few years, the company has experienced significant growth. The children's retailer now boasts 21 stores in the Western United States and an additional 14 stores throughout South Africa.

The company is led by Joe Franceschi, CEO; Laura Diaz, Chief Merchant; and Anne Eales, Chief Designer. Previously, Franceschi was COO of Greenbacks, Inc., where he helped expand the company's retail portfolio from 15 to 100 stores. Diaz brings years of experience as a former merchant for the Gap and Mervyn's.

Luis Nogales, Managing Partner of Nogales Investors, said, “The current conditions in the retail market have created an enormous opportunity for Naartjie. Vacancy rates in high end shopping centers have increased as more retailers downsize and face bankruptcies, making it an opportune time for well-capitalized retailers like Naartjie to expand.”

Naartjie fits well with the business strategy of Nogales Investors Fund II, which is designed to make investments ranging from $10 million to $40 million in high-growth middle market companies.

The company's highly differentiated and cost competitive merchandising strategy along with its proven ability to open and operate profitable locations in the United States made it an attractive investment opportunity. The current management team also has substantial experience in children's apparel and previous success in executing store expansion strategies.

Nogales Investors Management LLC


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