Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Sir Tom Fashions a New Teesside Link

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Sir Tom Fashions a New Teesside Link

Article excerpt

MIDDLESBROUGH-based fashion retailer Van Mildert has landed a remarkable business deal with serial entrepreneur, Sir Tom Hunter. Scotland's richest man, Sir Tom hit the headlines three years ago when he pledged to donate pounds 1bn to charity, saying: ''There is more great wealth in fewer hands today than ever before in history. My personal belief is that with great wealth comes great responsibility."

He has just acquired the business and assets of Cruise Fashion from administrators Deloitte and immediately announced the formation of a joint venture with Van Mildert to 'maximise opportunities in the luxury fashion industry'.

Van Mildert, owned by Middlesbrough-based brothers Eric and Cyril Williams, has a store in Darlington and just opened its sixth store - 2,000 sq ft on Harrogate's Princes Street.

The company, which has its headquarters on Middlesbrough's Riverside Park, began life in 1996 with a store on Elvet Bridge Durham. It also has sites in Durham, York, and Gateshead's Metrocentre.

Cyril said: "In spite of the recession people still want top quality brands and top quality customer service. We are passionate about what we do, and it shows."

Sir Tom has acquired the ten-store Cruise chain for an undisclosed sum and will continue to trade from all ten stores, including two in Newcastle and in Aberdeen, Belfast, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Leicester. Commenting on both deals, Sir Tom said: "Cruise is an iconic brand that requires investment for growth. It's a business I'm delighted to invest in. Combining this acquisition with a partnership with Van Mildert, an exceptional fashion business in my view, offers a strong platform from which to build both businesses."

Eric Williams, director of Van Mildert added: "The Van Mildert brand has enjoyed robust trading over the last twelve months, opening new stores and also winning an unprecedented three Draper's Awards. …

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