Mamas & Papas seeks external investment

David and Luisa Scacchetti
David and Luisa Scacchetti
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THE co-founder of nursery retailer Mamas & Papas has spoken for the first time of the company’s plans to seek external investment.

David Scacchetti, who founded the family-owned business with his wife Luisa, said Mamas & Papas had already attracted interest from a number of investors.

However, Mr Scacchetti also stressed that a sale of the entire business “was not part of our plan”.

He said: “The family plan is to be as involved in the business as we are now.”

Huddersfield-based Mamas & Papas, which counts singer Gwen Stefani among its celebrity fans, yesterday confirmed that it had hired KPMG to support its bid to secure external investment. Funds raised from this investment will be used to accelerate global expansion, new product development and turnover growth, the company said.

The company added: “Already a variety of high quality investors have approached the company, attracted by the strong global opportunity on offer and its impressive track record of developing award winning products through highly acclaimed retail environments.” This investment will be the first to be sourced outside of the founding family. The company, which was founded in 1981, is currently 100 per cent owned by its founders David and Luisa Scacchetti who sit on the board, along with their two daughters Amanda and Olivia. All four hold key positions within the company and are supported by other family members working at various levels.

Mr Scacchetti said yesterday: “Despite the recession, over the last five years Mamas & Papas has pushed ahead with its programme of investment. This means over £5m each year has gone into the research and development of new products for the global nursery market. As a result, we have launched award-winning products like the Armadillo pushchair that have been excellently received by our global audience. We have opened up new stores around the world, refreshed our brand, focused on diversifying our routes to market with new websites, apps and partnerships. We have also substantially invested in our back end warehouse operations to be able to effectively manage the growth in demand.

“All of this has been achieved while remaining true to our core values of being focused on families and using our experience as a family to connect with customers. Additional investment will allow us to accelerate the pace of global expansion, put even more funds into research and development and also put more funds into marketing to help reach an even bigger international audience. We feel that the positive reception we are enjoying in new markets means that now is the time to push harder towards increasing our market share.”

Mr Scacchetti said it was “too soon to say” how big a stake in the business the family was planning to sell.

“That will be based on the strength of the offer and the origin of the investment,’’ he said. Mr Scacchetti said the business had no plans for a flotation.

Mamas & Papas, which employs more than 1,500 people, now trades in 59 countries and is opening shops in key markets such as Russia, China and the Middle East. In the year to March 31 2013, turnover rose 13 per cent to £108.2m.