The parent company of womenswear label Ruby, De Vere Investments, has added New Zealand menswear company Meccano to its stable. The purchase became effective on March 30. We heard from De Vere managing director Vere Sharma about the details of the deal.
As De Vere Textiles, the family-owned Grey Lynn company has supplied Meccano for more than 10 years. Managing director Vere Sharma says despite its connection with Ruby, which it purchased in 2008, De Vere has always leaned towards the menswear side of apparel – it makes products for all leading menswear retailers in New Zealand. For Meccano, it handled shirting, plus more “structural and contemporary” items.
Meccano was founded in Hamilton by Dai and Cheryl Endicott-Davies. Its first outlet opened at Centre Place mall during 1993. It now has 15 stores spanning from Auckland to Dunedin, which will continue to operate under the new ownership. Combined with De Vere’s existing 10 Ruby outlets, the purchase brings De Vere’s total retail stores up to 25.
In quotes supplied by De Vere, the Endicott-Davies’ cited the company’s long supplier relationship and confirmed that they believe Meccano is in safe hands.
Meccano’s sale was sparked by interest from De Vere, Sharma says. The company wanted to leverage its investment in menswear and the culture of the two companies was compatible.
“What we got from Meccano was critical mass and scaleability,” Sharma says. “Meccano is a very strong brand and the fit is there.”
The purchase has brought De Vere’s staff numbers to more than 130. Sharma says no Meccano staff have been lost, although De Vere has moved the label’s head office from Hamilton to Auckland.
The vertically integrated model will make it easy for De Vere to move within Meccano’s model to look for growth opportunities, but Sharma says there will be no sharp changes in direction for Meccano under its new ownership. First and foremost, he and his team will seek to understand its DNA.
“We learned about retail through Ruby, it’s now about understanding what Meccano is about,” Sharma says. “There’s a lot of bits you don’t actually get until your feet are under the table.”
However, Sharma has indicated there will be changes made to Meccano’s online presence within six months. He also intends to make changes to the store’s aesthetics and build on its existing business model.
Asked what makes Meccano stand out within the Kiwi menswear market, Sharma says its product is priced correctly for its quality and aesthetics. De Vere sees it as a brand that’s “on-trend”.
Sharma did not disclose the value of the sale but says it was “a fair price” to both parties.