Francesca’s continues to expand beyond its boutique-like mall stores with the acquisition of Richer Poorer for an undisclosed amount. The Southern California-based basics brand will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Francesca’s.
Richer Poorer co-founder and CEO Iva Pawling will stay on to lead the brand as well as the retailer’s Franki tween brand and its wholesale operations, per Francesca’s press release.
Francesca’s will continue to look for acquisition opportunities, according to a statement from Joshua Phillips, managing partner of private equity firm TerraMar Capital, which acquired the mall retailer out of bankruptcy in 2021.
After floundering for years, Francesca’s joined several other retailers in heading to bankruptcy court in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. The apparel and accessories retailer has since been branching out. The retailer now runs 454 stores, down from 558 when it filed for bankruptcy.
The retailer has expanded its e-commerce operations, launched its tween brand and, more recently, began working with resale e-retailer ThredUp to sell secondhand goods. The purchase of Richer Poorer helps Francesca’s appeal to Gen Z and millennial women, “bolsters channel reach, including leveraging its robust wholesale network, and introduces new product categories to the brand's portfolio mix,” per the release.
“Creating this new cooperative of synergistic brands allows us to benefit from a diverse bench strength of expertise, while setting up the whole for greater reach into our target markets,” Francesca’s CEO Andrew Clarke said in a statement. "This will deliver increased operational efficiencies, accelerate our omni-channel capabilities and open new revenue streams."
For its part, Richer Poorer gains a parent organization with relatively deep pockets, at a time when startups and DTC brands are under pressure. The brand, launched in 2010 and briefly owned by Shoes.com, began selling socks via wholesale before pivoting to DTC a few years ago, according to media reports. Its assortment now also includes other wardrobe basics.
"The shifting DTC landscape has required strong start-up brands like Richer Poorer to seek new means of capital and growth," Tiger Capital Executive Managing Director Ryan Davis said in a statement. "As proven brand-builders, the teams at francesca's and TerraMar are ideally positioned to take the brand to the next level."
The transaction was completed in partnership with Tiger Capital, a longtime Francesca’s lender that partnered with TerraMar to buy it out of bankruptcy, and financed by Bank of America.