March 20, 2019 / 3:26 PM / 3 months ago

Switzerland's Maus in talks to buy edgy French label The Kooples

FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Kooples is seen on a store in Paris, France, March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - The Kooples, a French clothing label that competes with “affordable luxury” brands like Sandro or Britain’s Whistles, is in talks to be taken over by private Swiss investor Maus Freres, the companies said on Wednesday.

Maus - which bought Lacoste, the French sportswear label famed for its crocodile logo, in 2012 - entered exclusive negotiations with shareholders of The Kooples, which was founded by three siblings, the firms said in a joint statement.

The brand has developed an edgy, slightly rock-and-roll style, and sells dresses roughly in the 400 euro-range - putting it on a par with other French brands like SMCP’s Sandro and Maje or family-owned Zadig & Voltaire.

It had a turnover of 227 million euros (194.87 million pounds) in 2018, 10 years after launching, and 334 points of sale centred in Europe and the United States.

So-called affordable luxury brands are competing to carve out a following among shoppers often drawn to cheaper labels for every-day clothes or much higher-end luxury firms for “status” handbags and styles with desirable logos.

Maus, which has a big distribution business with department stores like Swizterland’s Manor, also owns Stockholm-based clothing firm Gant, and French puffer jacket maker Aigle.

Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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