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British Collective Wants to Reimagine High Street Retail

Inc & Co has moved to its next phase of growth through the formation of Inc Retail Group, a new division that recently acquired accessories brand Knomo.

Inc & Co’s business model includes acquiring firms in a sector and then forming a collective in which the group shares operational resources that include human resource support and financial frameworks. While best known for its start in the digital marketing space as it built out that operational network, the framework serving Inc & Co’s business model is sector agnostic.

The acquisition of Knomo, a luxury leather bags firm, will form the basis of the retail group’s operational arm. Inc Retail said that it will be making more acquisitions, many of which are already in the pipeline.

“As part of our three-year growth and development plan, we are proud to be continuing to diversify our operations, and we’re incredibly excited to be moving into the world of retail. Acquiring Knomo was a natural move for us, with the brand’s exquisite range of backpacks, briefcases, and laptop bags already well-loved across the U.K., making it the perfect brand to blend into the Inc Retail offering,” Jack Mason, Inc & Co’s CEO, said.

Mason said Inc Retail will be headed up by Dan Shaw, the former board director at Jones Bootmaker. He previously held senior roles at Gant UK and Tommy Hilfiger and most recently was head of retail innovation at Intu shopping centers.

“Dan and I have a unique shared vision for how we believe we can reimagine the high street and he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience to make that vision come to life,” Mason said. Shaw has extensive experience in wholesale, franchise and retail operations.

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“Having spent quite some time working in an advisory capacity with Jack and his team, there was a natural, clear synergy and shared vision with what we both want to achieve on the high street. It’s a very exciting opportunity that will allow me the freedom to draw upon my own experience to build a strong retail offer for the brands within the Inc Retail Group,” Shaw said.

The Manchester-based firm began operations in October 2019 with the acquisition of digital marketing agency Fast Web Media and the mobile app development firm Cuhu. It has since gone on to acquire Skylab, a digital strategy and production firm with a sizable sports clientele, Laundrapp, an on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service, and Insight Analysis, a sports analytics firm. It also launched Inc & Co Property, which acquired Prospect Business Centres that has been rebranded incspaces, offering managed office space across Leeds, London and Manchester.