Lovehoney Acquires Luxury Erotic Retailer Coco de Mer
Lovehoney, the UK’s largest online retailer of sex toys, has acquired high-end erotic retailer Coco de Mer, the company founded by Sam Roddick in 2001. The deal gives Lovehoney its first high street presence and the opportunity to develop Coco de Mer as the world’s leading luxury ethical erotic brand.
Established in 2002 by business partners Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst, Lovehoney has achieved significant success within the UK retail sector, achieving in excess of 30 per cent year on year growth for the past three years despite the economic downturn. The company’s most recent accounts showed a turnover of £13.4 million in the financial year ending March 2011, with pre-tax profits of £1.1 million.
With its flagship store in Covent Garden, Coco de Mer is widely acknowledged as one of London’s most luxurious shopping destinations dedicated to empowerment, dignity and discovery and was recently voted one of London’s Top 100 Best Shops by Time Out. The brand is known for its range of ethically sourced designer lingerie, sex toys, jewellery and erotic art and boasts countless A-List celebrity customers.
“Over the past 10 years Sam has made Coco de Mer a uniquely powerful proposition and her dedication to promoting a frank and open discussion about the enjoyment of sex has been uncompromising,” says Longhurst. “We’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to continue to develop Sam’s groundbreaking work and make Coco de Mer the world’s leading luxury erotica brand.”
Coco de Mer will remain as a stand-alone luxury brand with a high-end product range with the ethos Sam Roddick so astutely developed. Lovehoney will invest in the Covent Garden store and will extend Coco de Mer’s range of own-brand products for sale direct to retail customers in the UK and leverage Lovehoney’s distribution and fulfilment network in Europe, USA, Australia and Asia.
The new owners will also overhaul the company’s online operation while maintaining the look and feel of the brand in order to provide customers with an enhanced shopping experience online.
Sam Roddick said that while emotionally it was a hard decision to sell the business, it was commercially prudent and she felt confident that the sexual awakening that Coco de Mer had helped to achieve would thrive with Lovehoney.
“Neal and Richard share my passion for legitimising and promoting positive discussion about eroticism and sex. I believe that in their hands Coco de Mer will continue to offer customers a unique and highly personalised experience, a wide array of exclusive and ethical products as well access to information for those who don’t follow the conventions of mainstream society.”
Roddick will take on an informal role within the company, advising on positioning and product development. She will continue with her passion for activism and bringing about positive change in the world.
The deal between Lovehoney and Coco de Mer was created and negotiated by Ranjit Singh, Coco de Mer’s Chief Executive. Ranjit, who has previously worked with global brands including Virgin and The Body Shop, was brought into Coco de Mer 12 months ago in order to restructure the company ready for a sale. “I am delighted that the deal has gone through as the synergy between the two brands is undeniable and I have no doubt that Coco de Mer, under the control of Lovehoney, will go from strength to strength.”
Notes to editor
- Longhurst, a former technology journalist, and Slateford, a DJ, have proven to be savvy and innovative retailers, growing the Lovehoney business from an original £9,000 investment into an international operation fulfilling in the region of 50,000 orders per month, with one in every three sex toys in the UK being purchased from the online firm.
- Lovehoney was also recently shortlisted in two categories at the 2011 Orange National Business Awards, with judges commending them on their online business success as well as commitment to delivering excellent customer service. The company is a nominee in the 2011 Oracle Retail Week Awards’ Growing Business of the Year category.
- Coco de Mer’s famous clientele includes celebrities such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Russell Brand, Liv Tyler and Mischa Barton.
- Luxury brands stocked by Coco de Mer include Stella McCartney, Mimi Holliday, Lascivious and Fleur of England.