Frasers Group is continuing to snap up multi-brand independent retailers with Sunderland’s Aphrodite being its latest buy.

The menswear retailer has been trading in the city for 30 years stocking well-known brands including Paul Smith, Polo Ralph Lauren and Barbour among others.

It is run by brothers Andy and Duncan McKenzie, who opened the store in 1994 when they were just 19 and 21 years of age.

In a communication to suppliers, seen by, Duncan McKenzie said he was “pleased to share” that the deal had concluded on 29 March, and asked that no further deliveries be made to the store while the integration with Frasers was carried out.

“We will be in touch over the next few weeks along with David Epstein [managing director premium and luxury] of Frasers to share our plans for the Aphrodite store and website under the new ownership, but in the meantime as we work through the process of a complex integration of all aspects of the business in terms of systems and warehouse, please can you ensure no further deliveries are processed for delivery into the Aphrodite warehouse.”

Frasers Group, which owns the Flannels chain of super boutiques, has been hoovering up independent multi brand retailers in recent years. Among its most recent acquisitions are Zee & Co, a small chain of boutiques in London and Essex, and menswear retailer John Anthony.

These followed the acquisition in December 2022 of 14 retail, online and wholesale businesses, including another 50 to 60 fashion-focused stores, in a £47.5m deal with its former arch-rival JD Sports. Names such as Tessuti, Scotts and Cricket formed part of that deal. In March 2023 it also acquired Philip Browne, the well-regarded Norwich-based menswear independent, from JD.

In December 2023, it acquired luxury multibrand retailer Matches for £52m from private equity company Apax Partners, but just 11 weeks later it was placed into administration. Matches continues to trade online and from its London stores but its long-term future is uncertain as a new buyer is sought.

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