Walmart Heirs Snap Up Rapha, The British Bikewear Brand

by MR Magazine Staff

Rapha, the upmarket British bikewear brand credited with bringing fashionable as well as functional garments to the booming cycling market, is set to get additional pedal power in the form of a major new shareholder. The company, based in London, announced Monday that RZC Investments, an investment vehicle set up by Steuart and Tom Walton, two scions of the billionaire Walmart dynasty, would take a majority stake in the business, which was founded by its chief executive, Simon Mottram, in 2004. Mr. Mottram, a former branding consultant who advised luxury companies like Burberry and Davidoff, started Rapha after seeing a gap in the market for style-conscious cycling clothes amid the sea of sweaty high-visibility jackets, flapping shorts and badly fitting outfits in clashing color combinations. Alongside its premium garments, which range in cost from around $70 for a long-sleeve T-shirt to $200 for gloves and $290 for a jersey, Rapha regularly invites fans to frequent its stores, known as “clubhouses,” where they can sip coffee and watch live cyclocross races on state-of-the-art television screens. It also has an international cycling club with more than 9,000 members, each of whom pays an annual $229 fee. Read more at The New York Times.