Lavenham: Suffolk clothing brand Lavenham Leisure bought by Fred Perry Holdings

Lavenham Leisure in Sudbury

Lavenham Leisure in Sudbury

One of Suffolk’s oldest and best known clothing brands is set for global exposure after the company was purchased by a major fashion firm.

Fred Perry Holdings Limited has just acquired Sudbury-based Lavenham Leisure, which manufactures signature quilted jackets and accessories at its factory in Church Field Road.

The family business was established in 1969 in Lavenham and has a heritage in equestrian and country lifestyle products.

Since relocating to the Chilton industrial estate, Lavenham Leisure has collaborated with top designers to modernise its range of fashion jackets.

Last year, the firm suffered a blow when £60,000 worth of stock was stolen from the Sudbury premises and was never recovered.

Following the takeover announcement, managing director Nicky Santomauro told the EADT she will retain her position and the all products will continue to be made in Sudbury.

The 112 members of staff will also keep their jobs, with expansion on the horizon.

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London based Fred Perry Holdings has been owned by Japan’s Hit Union since 1995. Japan is one of Lavenham Leisure’s biggest markets.

Ms Santomauro has been keen to sell the Lavenham image abroad and believes the takeover will enable the company to do so more effectively.

She said: “We have been bought out by Fred Perry, which with their experience, distribution network and knowledge of branding and promotion will be able to take Lavenham to the next level.

“With their contacts and know-how, what would take me 10 years to achieve Fred Perry can get done within a couple of years.

“Being a family-run business up to this point, it was very important to get the right deal with the right company that understood that we want to continue to manufacture in Suffolk.

“All of our garments will continue to be branded with the Lavenham logo, and styles such as our classic Craydon jacket will continue on.

“We aim to strengthen the brand, and make as many jackets for as many markets around the world as possible.”

Fred Perry chief executive John Flynn said they were delighted by the move.

“The Lavenham brand shares many similar characteristics with Fred Perry, and we are excited about working with Nicky and her team to help further develop the international markets for this flourishing brand,” he added.