LONDON, United Kingdom — British athleisure retailer Sweaty Betty is rumoured to be limbering up for a $524m sale.
According to sources close to the matter, the company, founded in 1998 by husband and wife duo Tamara and Simon Hill-Norton, is currently undergoing private deliberations. Potential suitors could include large retailers or a private equity firm, revealed Bloomberg.
Having spent the past couple of years focusing on expansion across the US and Asia, the company now operates more than 60 stores globally — including a 3,500 sq ft flagship in London. This growth, coupled with a revamp of its ecommerce site has helped propel the brand’s turnover, which sat at £56.6m in 2018 — an 18% year-on-year climb.
Despite the company remaining silent on the impact of coronavirus on its operations, the athleisure category more generally has emerged as one of the winners of the pandemic.
The Sports Edit, one of Europe’s leading premium activewear e-tailers, recently reported its best-ever year, growing 145% in 2020.
“We’ve been up 200-300% over the different months of lockdown,” founder Nick Paulson-Ellis told Welltodo. “But even a business of the scale of Lululemon has been up 125% online,” he added.
British athleisure brand Varley, also revealed in an episode of The Business of Wellness Podcast, that it continues to see its e-commerce rise by 100% year-on-year, with 60-70% of year-on-year growth overall.
Brands including ASOS, Athleta, adidas and TALA have also reported strong sales, while just this week athleisure brand Gymshark hit £1.3 billion in valuation after raising capital from growth equity investor General Atlantic.
According to the formidable startup, despite the global pandemic, it reported its strongest quarter in Q1 2020 in terms of revenue growth.
With such a favourable market outlook and ongoing interest from investors keen on aligning themselves with wellness, Sweaty Betty appears to be in a strong position to cut a deal.