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Monday, 3 April, 2000, 00:55 GMT 01:55 UK
Ann Summers to buy Knickerbox
Sex shop chain Ann Summers has announced it will buy the Knickerbox lingerie operation from its receivers.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see Ann Summers take over the Knickerbox brand name and its 33 stores.
Jacqueline Gold, chief executive of Ann Summers, said: "We have no plans to alter the Knickerbox brand but some of its larger stores may be converted into Ann Summers shops."
Knickerbox was an 1980s success story, but has now fallen on harder times. Last year, the chain made a reported £5m loss.
Ann Summers said it was confident it could turn the brand around and break even within a year.
The Knickerbox brand also includes franchise stores across the world, including Denmark, Iceland and Ireland.
Ms Gold said: "We will work with these existing Knickerbox franchise partners and have plans to expand Knickerbox further through overseas franchising."
The Knickerbox acquisition is part of a global expansion plan by Ann Summers, which makes annual sales of £43m.
The group has 27 high street stores in the UK as well as shops in Ireland and Australia.
It plans to expand to the United States this summer.