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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Chanel picks London over New York for its international team 

In a nod to post-Brexit Britain, the French fashion house is transferring its global corporate functions from the Big Apple

In June, the company reported almost $10 billion in sales for last year. Photo: Reuters
In June, the company reported almost $10 billion in sales for last year. Photo: Reuters

Chanel No. 5 and the little black dress are about to come with a British twist.

In a show of confidence for post-Brexit UK, French fashion icon Chanel is transferring its global corporate functions from New York to a new home in London.

Rather than expanding its Paris roots, the company will base its international team in London, moving about 50 jobs there, according to a company spokesman. Chanel, whose chief finance officer Philippe Blondiaux is based in London, will house functions such as finance, legal and accounting in the new hub.

“Great that Chanel are moving their global HQ to London from New York,” Margot James, UK minister for digital, wrote in a Tweet this week. “A real vote of confidence in the U.K. and its amazing creatives.”

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After the regroup of its financial operations in the UK, Chanel also moved to bolster its governance by naming an independent board, company filings show. The spokesman said Chanel was simply following best practice with its new governance structure, and that no potential sale or IPO was being prepared.

In June, the closely held company opened its books for the first time, reporting almost $10 billion in sales last year. Chanel said it did so partly to repel rumors it could be taken over.

With Karl Lagerfeld, 85, serving as its creative director since 1983, Chanel stands out for its remarkable stability in the luxury fashion arena, where competitors have regularly overhauled their identities with new designers, store decors, and logos to keep up customer excitement.

Though Chanel’s interlocking double “C” signature hasn’t budged since designed by founder Coco Chanel in 1925, it’s begun to shake-up operations over the past year.

Chanel took a minority stake in online luxury retailer Farfetch, which is currently preparing a public listing in New York. To highlight a wider range of products, Chanel also revamped its web sites - though fashion and handbags can still only be purchased in stores.