Who owns our high street stores?

Despite rumours of the high street being in trouble, when you walk past lots of different brands and chain stores it might not appear that things are as desperate as experts are making out. However, the vast majority of high street shops are owned by a few large umbrella companies as this infographic produced by My Voucher Codes explains.

Who owns our fashion brands


The big guys

It turns out that the thousands of brands are owned by four main companies; Gap Inc, Inditex, Arcadia and H & M. The oldest of these large umbrella companies is the Arcadia group. Originally known as the Burton Group, this company was set up in 1904 by Montague Burton, the founder of Burton’s menswear. Since its inception it Burton Group has grown to include Topshop and Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Evans and Outfit and now has a net income of £205 million.

1947 saw the launch of the H & M group, which has grown to include brands such as H & M, COS, Cheap Monday, Weekday and Monki and now boasts a net annual income of £1.7 billion. Gap Inc, was founded in 1969 and the Urban Outfitters group followed in 1907. Covering companies such as Old Navy, Intermix and Athleta, Gap Inc. has an annual net income of £684 million whilst the Urban Outfitters group brings in the slightly more modest figure of £163 million. Richard Hayne, who founded the Urban Outfitters group is currently CEO of the group and Donald and Doris Fisher, who founded Gap Inc. are also both still actively involved in the running of their multimillion dollar empire.

The little guys

There are some newer kids on the block such as the Kamani Family, who own fashion retailers Boohoo and Pretty Little Things, with Boohoo currently having an annual net income of £9 million and Peter Simon, the founder of Monsoon and Accessorize has the slightly heftier annual net income of £54 million. French Connection is also looking to make a play to earn more of the high street. Since being founded by Stephen Marks in 1972, the 1990’s saw French Connection acquire YMC and in early 2000 Toast also became part of this group.

Commenting on the findings Chris Reilly from My Voucher Codes said “People rarely think twice about who actually owns their favourite retailers when shopping, just like most people probably don’t think about who owns their favourite grocery brands. But it is interesting to see how much fashion retail businesses make and which companies are tied together by the same holding company.”

He added:

“Like many things, we are starting to see smaller companies formed and launching, mainly online and taking a chunk of the market from existing retailers. With new online stores, companies have less start-up costs because they don’t need retail space and staff, with websites as their main platforms, business can form faster. However they can also fail faster.”

Chris, cleverly, highlights the fact that the internet now gives more and more budding entrepreneurs the chance to at least try and make their mark on the fashion retail empire.

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