Grant Thornton supports City Chic's cross border purchase of Navabi

31 August 2021 3 min. read

Australian omni-channel clothing retailer City Chic Collective has purchased European clothing company Navabi. Grant Thornton UK's Cambridge Corporate Finance team helped City Chic identify Navabi as a target, before managing the deal as a project.

City Chic Collective, founded as Miller's Retail in 1992, is an Australian retail clothing company. Headquartered in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria, the firm has been expanding its European footprint in recent years with a string of acquisitions.

When the Arcadia Group fell into administration, for example, City Chic acquired long-standing British clothing and footwear brand Evans from the administrators. As it looks to further grow its European presence, it has also purchased e-commerce retailer Navabi.

Grant Thornton supports City Chic's cross border purchase of Navabi

Since its launch in 2009, Navabi has managed to grow customer bases in Germany, France and the UK. Catering to the need for plus-size women’s clothing, footwear and accessories, by 2020 Navabi had 5.8 million hits from customer traffic on its websites, generating €10.4 million in sales revenue as a result. This made it an attractive prospect to buyers, with City Chic paying €6 million in cash to snap up the business from its founders – who have now exited.

A number of professional services firms worked on the deal. City Chic was advised by legal firms CMS in Germany and Thomson Greer in Australia. As well as this, PwC provided tax advice in both geographies. At the very start of the process though, a team of UK based consultants from Grant Thornton had helped City Chic identify Navabi as a target in the first place.

Munraj Dhaliwal, Chief Financial Officer at City Chic, remarked, "We have been working with Grant Thornton for a couple of years to map out our entry into the region, and over that time they have advised us on two great opportunistic acquisitions. We will continue to work with them as they have shown an impressive level of insight, deal negotiation and structuring and overall management of the transaction from the first discussion through to completion. They have proved themselves on a number of occasions to give frank advice on price, in our best interest."

The team at Grant Thornton consisted of Doug Bentley, Nicola Sartori and Nicole Wong. They assessed Navabi as a suitable target for City Chic, before project managing the cross-border transaction through to completion.

Corporate Finance Director Doug Bentley noted, "This is a great outcome for both parties. This was a highly strategic transaction for CCX. It enables the company to continue expanding its geographical footprint and build on the Navabi brand. This acquisition is a great addition to CCX’s portfolio and we are excited to see what the next stage of the journey brings."

Grant Thornton has recently expanded its consulting offering in Australia. In the footsteps of other large Grant Thornton members firms globally, the Australian division has launched a dedicated CFO Advisory service.