The John David Group (JD) has acquired branded fashion wear company Bank Stores Holdings for GBP18.5m (US$27.17m), in its second strategic buy this month.

The sports retail group bought Bank Stores from Phoenix Equity Partners, it said in statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning (10 December).

It follows news last week that JD was to invest in footwear and apparel distributor Focus Group.

Bank, founded in 1994, has grown into a chain of 49 retail outlets across the UK, selling both men's wear and women's wear under brands including Gio Goi, Firetrap, Superdry and Henleys.

Bank's founder Andy Scott, together with managing director Damian Scarlett and finance director Peter Alecock will continue in their current roles.

JD added that deferred consideration may be payable to the vendors in the event that the profit before interest, tax and depreciation of Bank exceeds certain thresholds
in the period to 28 February 2008. The maximum total deferred consideration that could be payable to the vendors is GBP1.0m.

For the 2006 fiscal year, Bank posted an audited loss before tax of GBP5.37m and gross assets of GBP35.1m.

Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Group, said the retail brand's trading style "complements the trading ethos of JD on the high street and enhances our portfolio of brands and products.

"While we fully recognise the challenges of fashion retail, we believe that our capable management team will effect a successful combination of our current Scotts stores and the Bank chain, creating an enhanced Fashion Division within the Group and a real opportunity for sales and margin growth."

Last week, JD announced it had bought a 49.0% stake in Focus Brands Limited (Newco), a new company set up to acquire Focus Group Holdings Limited and its subsidiary companies (Focus Group).

It invested GBP49,000 by way of share capital and GBP2.45m by way of loan notes into Newco, and was also granted a call option over the 51.0% of Newco's issued share capital after five years.

JD also reported a positive like-for-like sales hike of 11.8% for the 44 week period to 1 December 2007 at the time, despite a recent slowdown, and indicated that January's profits will beat expectations.