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Lovehoney on the High Street

Online retailer Lovehoney now has a High Street presence following its acquisition of upmarket erotic retailer Coco de Mer. Coco de Mer has always enjoyed a high profile in the mainstream media and not just for its range of ethically sourced designer lingerie, sex toys, jewellery and erotic art – the business was launched in 2001 by Sam Roddick, daughter of Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and it can boast an enviable line up of celebrity customers.

“Over the past 10 years Sam has made Coco de Mer a uniquely powerful proposition,” said Lovehoney co-founder Richard Longhurst. “We’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to continue to develop Sam’s groundbreaking work and make Coco de Mer the world’s leading luxury erotica brand.”

Sam Roddick will have an informal role within the company, advising on positioning and product development. She said: “I believe that in [Lovehoney’s] hands Coco de Mer will continue to offer customers a unique and highly personalised experience, a wide array of exclusive and ethical products as well as access to information for those who don’t follow the conventions of mainstream society.”

Lovehoney co-founder Neal Slateford told ETO: “Coco de Mer is a fantastically well known brand that’s not been reaching its potential. It’s the biggest name in erotic luxury goods and we’ll be looking to extend the brand into other areas.”

Lovehoney plans to invest in the Covent Garden store, overhaul its online presence and extend Coco de Mer’s range of own-brand products.

When asked if there are likely to be more Coco de Mer stores, Slateford replied: “Potentially yes, but first we’ve got to get the company back on track financially,” and he did not rule out the possibility of Lovehoney-branded stores in the future. “If there was it would be a very different proposition to Coco de Mer, but watch this space…”

The acquisition of Coco der Mer brings to a close a very eventful period for Lovehoney. After investing in party plan business BlueBella in 2010 it bought online lingerie retailer BeCheeky out of liquidation earlier this year and went on to acquire the assets of Bonershaker and BMC Intimate, including the Mantric brand and the moulds for all the sex toys created by the company. Bonershaker is due to be launched into the American market early next year, under the new name of Rock Box, and a number of BMC products are also likely to return to the market during 2012.

The Lovehoney cheque book could be out again in 2012; when ETO asked Slateford if the Bath-based firm had plans for more acquisitions, he replied: “We are always on the lookout for opportunities which will allow us to grow the Lovehoney business.”