The company functions as a business

The company ELLE will be used so that I can evaluate the information provided and explore how aspects such as objectives, cultures and structures influence the ways in which the company functions as a business. Actif Group plc comprises of DB Actif Ltd and the subsidiary business, Actif Retail Ltd. ELLE has been established from its trading parent company, DB Actif Limited (the wholesale business) and its 95% owned subsidiary Actif Retail Limited (the retail business). The remaining 5% is owned by the managing director of the retail company, Martin Parker, and this was issued for a cash investment of 50,000 in that company.

DB Actif Limited was founded by Sue Tisdall and Leonard Holihan in 1978 and initially produced exercise and fitness clothing under the brand name “Dance Bizarre”. In 1994 Martin Lent bought 50% of the company and, using his experience of casual clothing at Pamplemousse, the business changed direction and concentrated on a co-ordinated product mix specialising in the fashion sportswear field. During the following two years the Company raised finance from its directors and third party private investors (including �207,000 from the executive directors). The core business of The Group is the design, wholesale and retail of ELLE’s branded clothing.

The ELLE trademark was licensed from Hachette Filipacchi Medias (“Hachette”) in 1996, the company that publishes ELLE magazine in 30 editions throughout 90 countries worldwide. Hachette generates turnover of US$500 million per annum from ELLE merchandise. ELLE is the world’s leading woman’s fashion and lifestyle magazine and sells around 60 million copies per year, has 20 million regular readers and a global readership of over 80 million.

The product range covered by the license comprises Activewear, Sportswear, Nightwear, Swimwear and Underwear. The license grants rights to sell ELLE products in Europe (including Eastern Europe) and the Middle East. ELLE products are sold in 13 European countries and the Middle East, through major department stores within concession outlets (including Debenhams, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Kaufhof, El Corte Ingles, Army; Navy, Stockmann and Globus), through distributors and upmarket independent fashion boutiques. Products are also distributed through mail order catalogues such as Freemans, Littlewoods and Otto Versand.

There are over 250 ELLE products under licence worldwide including clothing, bags, shoes, eyewear, household goods and furnishings. The merchandise programme has been exceptionally strong in the Far East. ELLE merchandise was launched in Europe in March 1996 and in clothing alone has grown rapidly within 3 years to account for �35 million of annual retail sales value across Europe. ELLE have issued about 65,344,571 shares. 6.6% of shares are owned by the Directors of the company.


In order to review this company and explain the functions and understand their activities, which contribute to the running of the business, various sources of media will be used to gather the information needed, for example: textbooks and The Internet. Most of the information needed will be collected directly from ELLE itself. I will ask managers and Head Office for various data that I will need and of which they will be willing to give. Other information which relates to the type of business, ownership and other general information can be found in sources such as CD-ROMs, textbooks and newspapers.

Letters will be written to Head Office and the parent company: Actif Group plc so that I can gain as much knowledge of the business as possible. I will ask for information on their organisational functions, structure they use, how quality assurance affects their products or service and so on. This is so that I will be able to receive more accurate information from those that have more responsibility within the company. Graphs and charts will be produced to display various results and data such as ELLE’s statistics of turnover over the past couple of years. They would give me a better understanding of the business. An evaluation will then be made of all the relevant information taken and an overview will be produced to show my ability of understanding and knowledge.

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