Ben Sherman sold to private equity firm

Ben Sherman, the struggling British clothing brand sported by successive generations of rock stars from The Who and the Jam to Oasis, is hoping to make a comeback after being snapped up by a US private equity firm.

Marquee Brands, backed by the US investment firm Neuberger Berman,is buying the loss-making business for £41m from its current owner, Oxford Industries, also based in the US.

He spotted that high-spending members of the growing mod movement were buying imported preppy button-down shirts made by firms in the US such as Brooks Brothers and decided to produce his own version.

Sherman imported fabrics from the US and packaged each of his shirts, made from Oxford cotton in unusual colours such as pink and mint green, in a box. The shirts’ distinctive features included a button at the back of the collar.

Daphne Sherman, Ben Sherman’s widow, said: “I’m not sure about the quality of the cloth [now] because, going way back, the main thing Ben insisted on was getting the cloth right. The first shirts’ success was based on the Oxford cloth, which you could only get from America. The quality was very, very important.”

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