Belfast Telegraph

US tycoon Charles Cohen buys luxury shoe retailer Harrys of London

A US property billionaire has snapped up luxury shoe retailer Harrys of London and installed himself as chairman.

Charles Cohen, a real estate investor and film producer, said the deal would kick-start a global expansion, boosting the retailer's footprint in London, the US, Asia and the Middle East.

The entrepreneur bought the firm from shareholders led by Boston-based private equity firm Palladin Consumer Retail Partners, which has held a majority stake since 2014.

Mr Cohen said: "Harrys of London has been a brand I have supported and respected for a long time, bringing a unique mix of luxury, contemporary craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology and design.

"We see huge potential for expansion across the US, London, Asia and the Middle East, and I am eager to help the team grow Harrys on a global scale."

The move comes weeks after the property magnate acquired a controlling stake in Richard James, the Savile Row luxury menswear house.

US and Asian businesses have ramped up their interest in buying British firms following the pound's 15% plunge against the US dollar since the Brexit vote.

Chief executive Steven Newey said: " Charles brings a unique vision and background that will be invaluable in our future growth. We are looking forward to taking full advantage of the new horizons this partnership will open up."

Mr Cohen is based in New York and has real estate holdings of more than 12 million sq ft throughout the US.

He is also the chief executive and chairman of Cohen Media Group, which owns classic films by Buster Keaton, Alfred Hitchcock and Douglas Fairbanks and has distributed more than 64 independent and foreign-language films across the US.

The firm was the US distributor of this year's Academy Award-winning foreign language film The Salesman.

Harrys was founded in 2001 and launched its first shop in London's Mayfair seven years later.

The retailer has since expanded across the Middle East, with stores in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.