Dressing up a quality deal

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Christys. the Barnsley-based costume maker that can trace its history back almost 240 years, has been acquired by Amscan Holdings, the US-based manufacturer of party plates, cups and napkins, foil balloons and costumes.

Capitol Park-based Christys started out selling hats in London in 1773. More recently, the company added costumes, garments and accessories to its range.

Chrystys makes dressing up costumes for all ages and holds a pan-European license for replicating clothing worn by Disney characters, in addition to producing ranges for major retailers, including Marks & Spencer and ASDA.

Amscan, which is based in Elmsford, about 25 miles north of New York, was founded in 1947 and has a manufacturing operation in Milton Keynes, which makes and distributes more than 40,000 items to a smilar number of retailers worldwide.

The company also has plants in the US, Mexico, Poland and Malaysia and distribution centres in the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and Germany, as well as the UK.

Mark Ashcroft, Amscan senior vice-president for international operations, said: “We recognised that to provide the complete solution for our retail partners we needed to provide the highest quality costumes, which meet the exacting design standards of European retailers and consumers. Christys gives us that quality.”

Amscan has also acquired 150-year-old German balloon producer Riethmuller, which is the pre-eminent brand for party and carnival items in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and has operations in Scunthorpe in the UK, as well as Germany, Poland, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

“These companies bring AHI, and in particular our international operations, a rich history of success in their respective categories and markets. This effectively doubles the size of our international business,” said Mr Ashcroft.

“As part of our growth initiatives in the Continental European markets, we believe these acquisitions strengthen our product position and improve our ability to acquire key licences and market share with retail partners.”