The Gold Group, founded in 1965 by David Gold and his brother Ralph, has interests from lingerie to luxury air travel. The Group was set up as a holding company for Gold Star Publications, which produces top-shelf magazines, and a decade later launched the Ann Summers underwear brand. Ann Summers did not really take off until the early 1980s when David Gold’s daughter Jacqueline took charge. She made the decision to sell the underwear in open, well-designed high street boutiques that would appeal to women instead of dingy back alley stores or via mail order. She also instituted the Ann Summers “party concept”, where groups of women gathered together socially in their homes to try on and buy underwear. These two moves combined to turn the brand into a household name. Ann Summers now has 26 UK stores and has recently opened new stores in Dublin and Sydney. Profits for the Surrey-based Gold Group have risen by 68% pa, from £1.7m in 1995 to £7.9m in 1998. Turnover actually fell by 2% pa over the same period to reach £54.2m in 1998. In April, Ann Summers bought the ailing Knickerbox chain of 33 underwear stores for an undisclosed sum. A number of the shops will be turned into Ann Summers outlets.
This profile reflects the company at time of publication and does not reflect any changes that may have subsequently occurred. Fast Track and its sponsors do not endorse, guarantee or recommend investment in any of the companies.