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Ralph & Russo bought out of administration by Dressbarn owner

By Huw Hughes

1 Jul 2021

Business

Image: Ralph & Russo

US investment firm Retail Ecommerce Ventures (REV) has reportedly bought British couture brand Ralph & Russo out of administration.

REV, which is a vehicle set up by entrepreneurs Tai Lopez and Alex Mehr, agreed to buy Ralph & Russo late on Wednesday, around three months after it fell into administration, Sky News reports.

An announcement about the sale could reportedly come as soon as Thursday, insiders said.

Neither co-founders Tamara Ralph or Michael Russo are expected to play an active ongoing role in the business under its new ownership.

REV already owns fashion retailers Dressbarn and Stein Mart as well as homeware retailer Pier 1.

New owner for Ralph & Russo

Ralph & Russo collapsed in March with debts of nearly 28 million pounds after the London-based label was hit hard by the pandemic, which saw the mass cancellation of weddings and other formal events.

Co-founders Ralph and Russo said in a joint statement at the time: “This difficult decision has been made to help ensure the company’s ongoing success and to restructure the business after the retail economy across the world has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

But the future of the brand was cast in doubt in May after a takeover deal for the business fell through when the leading bidder dropped out just two days before signing the deal, according to filings at Companies House.

Those same files revealed that co-founder Ralph left the business following a dispute with Russo.

Ralph & Russo was founded in 2010 and has been a favourite of celebrities over the years such as Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez and Kate Middleton.

In 2017, the label made headlines when the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle wore one of the brand’s black and gold embroidered gowns, which is said to have cost 56,000 pounds, in her engagement photographs with Prince Harry.