THRILLS Apparel Brand Sold to Universal Store Holdings

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Byron Bay clothing label Cheap Thrills Cycles (CTC), better known as Thrills, was recently acquired by Australian retail giant Universal Store Holdings. Both parties entered into a binding agreement worth $50 million.

In 2011, Thrills began as a vintage motorcycle company, founded by husband and wife Tabitha and Brooke McGregor, with their close friend Ryan Collins. The trio imported motorbikes from the US and Japan and offered them to prospective collectors in Byron Bay.

Universal Store Thrills

It then developed a t-shirt collection to complement its bike sales but didn’t expect its garment range to become popular in Byron Bay and neighbouring areas. After three years, Thrills opened its first flagship store that offered coastal and vintage-inspired clothes targeting the younger market.

The brand grew to seven physical stores in Australia and one in Japan, coupled with a solid online presence. It is set to open two additional stores this November. According to Alice Barbery, Universal Store’s CEO and MD, “Thrills is currently the highest-selling third-party brand in our Universal Store business and has been a consistent and growing part of our product offer for over eight years.”

Barbery also notes that the trio behind the youth fashion brand has proved its capability to identify market gaps, designing and offering unique yet high-quality apparel, which is why it decided to acquire the company. Barbery also reports that Thrills generated $34.6 million in sales in this financial year from its physical and online stores.

The agreement will be finalised in the fourth quarter of this financial year. It entails providing Thrills with $17.5 million in cash, $17.5 million in Universal Store shares and a notional amount of $15 million in deferred variable consideration. 

The trio would continue to operate the brand in leadership roles. “We are excited by the opportunities a closer partnership can deliver in both products and brand development as well as further expansion of THRILLS direct-to-consumer channel”, Barbery adds.

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