Four Holdings, the vehicle in which Mike Ashley is a major investor, has added to its high-end credentials by buying back Oki-Ni, the online menswear business it launched earlier this century.
Four’s distribution unit, Four Marketing, sold the 12-year-old brand to French men’s lifestyle e-tailer Menlook Group in 2013 and having bought it back, will relaunch its currently-dormant website within the next few months.
Oki-Ni launched as a Savile Row, London store, in 2001 and was known for its designer collaborations. It later became a pureplay e-tailer and it unclear whether Four will keep it as an online-only operation.
Four Marketing co-founder Ben Banks said: “Oki-ni returning to Four Marketing is a truly positive step for the brand. Since creating Oki-ni in 2001, we have substantially grown our digital retail business and are now in a great position to take Oki-ni forward into a new phase.”
Four Marketing is expanding fast. It also recently acquired failed upscale intimates firm Agent Provocateur and is set to open a King’s Cross, London store for its 18 Montrose menswear brand.
As well as its owned brands, it also represents a number of premium labels in the UK, operating stores and e-commerce sites for 30 names including Stone Island, CP Company, and Paul & Shark.
The move to repurchase Oki-Ni also shines a further spotlight on billionaire Mike Ashley’s future business plans with the Sports Direct business he controls owning a 25% stake in Four Holdings.
Since saying he wanted to make the low-price-focused Sports Direct into the “Selfridges” of sports retail, he has made a a number of moves upmarket, expanding his Flannels business and being part of the Agent Provocateur buy.