After making Canada Goose popular, Bain Capital once again set its sights on the fashion industry.
According to fashion business news, Bain Capital recently announced that it will acquire Japanese fashion group Mash at a price of nearly 200 billion yen or about 10.13 billion yuan, becoming one of the largest private equity transactions in the Japanese fashion industry.
According to the agreement, Mash will transfer most of its shares to Bain Capital before the end of this year, but neither of them disclosed the specific amount and shares of this transaction. It is reported that Bain Capital will acquire all the shares held by Mash, including founder and president Hirohiro Kondo. After the acquisition is completed, Hirohiro Kondo may invest in the group again to obtain about 40% of the shares.
In the future, Hirohiro Kondo will continue to serve as the president and focus on brand management and development, while Bain Capital will be responsible for digital marketing, corporate management and finance, and the latter will assign executives to provide support for Mash operations.
Mash Group was established by founder Hirohiro Kondo in 1998. It currently owns SNIDEL, Gelato Pique, Cosme Kitchen and other fashion and beauty brands, which are deeply loved by young female consumers. It also operates food and beverage, advertising and publishing Waiting for business.
Kondo Hirohiro, who graduated from a design major, worked in various jobs including architectural design, graphic design, and CG animation director, and finally founded a CG production company called Mash. In 2005, he launched his first fashion brand SNIDEL. Thanks to the positioning of street casual style and the brand’s emphasis on women’s personal feelings, SNIDEL quickly attracted the attention of the market.
After the great success of SNIDEL, Mash Group accelerated the layout of fashion territory. In 2008, the group launched the homewear brand Gelato Pique. The cute, comfortable and soft design quickly occupied the Japanese homewear market, and even once led the trend of Japanese women’s homewear for outside wear.
In 2010, the group officially entered the field of skin care and cosmetics, and launched Cosme Kitchen, an organic cosmetics collection store, focusing on the concept of sustainable environmental protection, and formed nearly 100 natural and organic brands including its own organic washing and care brand Geosoap, beauty brand Coskichi and Ethique Included brand matrix.
It is reported that in the past two years, the beauty retailer has further reduced the damage of its packaging to the environment, using natural and degradable materials to design gift boxes and shopping bags. In addition, the company has also launched an empty bottle recycling program, which uses shopping points to encourage consumers to return empty bottles of goods sold in the store to the store, and eventually use these containers for the production of new products.
Mash Group then expanded the business of Cosme Kitchen to the food industry, founded the organic lifestyle brand Biople by CosmeKitchen, the organic food brand Cosme Kitchen Adaptation, and reached an exclusive sales agency cooperation with the American organic ice cream brand Three Twins Ice Cream.
From these actions, it is not difficult to see Mash’s ambition to become a multi-category and multi-brand group. Founder Hirohiro Kondo once said that the group hopes to meet the 24-hour consumption needs of women, and integrate Mash into every woman’s life from multiple dimensions such as fashion, beauty makeup, lifestyle, and catering. At present, it has more than 600 stores in Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States and other markets.
According to the Nikkei News Agency, Mash Group’s revenue in the fiscal year ending August 2022 increased by 14% year-on-year to 102.3 billion yen or approximately RMB 5.18 billion, which is still an increase compared to the fiscal year ending August 2019. 30%. During the period, the operating profit reached 9.8 billion yen or about 500 million yuan, and the profit rate was 10%, which was twice the average level of the Japanese clothing industry.
It is worth mentioning that the Japanese domestic market accounts for about 90% of its revenue, and one of the purposes of this acquisition is to use the power of Bain Capital to expand overseas business, and eventually plans to go public in the next three to five years.
Kondo Hirohiro had previously said in an interview that there are high calls from the outside world for the group to go public, but the group currently hopes to balance the proportion of domestic and foreign businesses. It is reported that SNIDEL’s overseas sales accounted for 38% before, but due to the outbreak of the epidemic, overseas business declined rapidly.
The experience of Bain Capital’s successful operation of Canada Goose may bring confidence to Mash Group. In 2013, it acquired a majority stake in the luxury down brand Canada Goose for US$250 million and became the actual owner of the brand. CEO Dani Reiss still retains a minority stake.
After obtaining new financing, Canada Goose opened an e-commerce platform in the United States in 2015, and its global expansion plan is gradually implemented. The group has established branches in Toronto, Stockholm, Denver, New York and other places, and added a new one in the suburbs of Toronto. factories to increase production. Four years later, Canada Goose was listed in Canada and the United States respectively, with a current market value of approximately US$1.939 billion.
In the second quarter of the 2023 fiscal year ending on October 2, Canada Goose’s total revenue rose by 19% year-on-year to 277 million Canadian dollars or about 1.48 billion yuan, which was better than expected, and rose by 22.3% at a constant exchange rate. The financial report shows that thanks to the early completion of orders and the increase in order value, Canada Goose’s procurement business rose by 21.2% during the period, and the direct sales business also achieved a strong growth of 15.6%.
There is no doubt that Mash Group is expected to replicate the success of Canada Goose with the blessing of Bain Capital. At present, it seems that the focus of Bain Capital’s transformation of Mash Group is on overseas expansion and digital operations, and the primary goal is the Chinese market.
Recently, the State Administration for Market Regulation announced Bain Capital Investment Co., Ltd.’s acquisition of part of the business of Maishu Holdings Co., Ltd. In China, the target business involves two operating entities, Maishu Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. and Shuqu Fashion Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., both of which are mainly engaged in the design and sales of fashionable and casual women’s clothing.
Among them, Maishu Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. was established in Shanghai in December 2010, operating women’s clothing brands SNIDEL, FRAY ID, LILY BROWN, CELFORD and home clothing brand Gelato Pique. Shuqu Fashion Trading (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. has its own brands including iii viviniko, i series and mila owen.
Among the above-mentioned brands, SNIDEL, which entered China in 2010, is undoubtedly the most successful brand currently operated by the group, with about 80 stores in the Chinese market. Gelato Pique also has a high popularity on Chinese social media platforms due to its cute and girly Japanese style.
However, traditional Japanese women’s clothing brands are facing a trend of ebb in China. According to Tmall data, the highest-selling item in SNIDEL’s flagship store is sweater cardigan, with monthly sales exceeding 200 pieces. Earth Music & Ecology, once the representative brand of “Mori Girl” style, announced its complete withdrawal from the Chinese market in June 2020 due to the impact of the epidemic.
In an increasingly saturated market environment, the market share of Japanese women’s clothing brands is being eroded by fast fashion brands such as Zara and Urban Revivo, Taobao online celebrity brands, and local women’s clothing brands represented by MO&Co., Dazzle, and Peacebird.
From a certain point of view, this result is due to the relatively closed traditional business strategy of Japanese brands.
Different from European and American brands that keep up with trends, Japanese women’s clothing brands tend to be relatively conservative in design, and most of their products are the same basic styles in terms of styles, which is difficult for most Chinese consumers who have not yet established brand awareness and loyalty. Lack of eye-catching memory points.
In addition to design styles, Japanese women’s clothing brands that have entered Chinese traditional department stores through distributor wholesale channels do not have an advantage in pricing. The consumption of the brand in production and transportation has increased the cost of the product, but it has failed to provide fabrics and craftsmanship that match the price of several hundred to one thousand yuan in the minds of consumers.
It can be said that the insensitivity of Japanese women’s clothing brands to market trends also makes it difficult for them to keep up with the needs of consumers who have already updated and iterated, and face the dilemma of being difficult to attract a new generation of consumers. At the same time, the vigilance of external capital also makes these brands miss the good opportunities to become large-scale mass commercial brands time and time again.
Mash’s initiative to seek the support of Bain Capital this time can be seen as a breakthrough for traditional Japanese women’s wear brands. That is, the former realized that in today’s market environment, the business philosophy of ten years ago can only bring about a decline in performance. The embrace of digitalization and the construction of localized marketing for the global market are the basis for the long-term development of the brand.
This is undoubtedly the beginning of the transformation of traditional Japanese women’s clothing brands, but it came a little later.