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Sorbet expands post acquisition11 September 2017Ian FuhrFollowing its recent acquisition by Long4Life, the Sorbet Group plans to open its 200th store before year-end and is interested in launching other formats under the Sorbet brand. Sorbet founder Ian Fuhr told Professional Beauty that these formats could include medical aesthetics, health and nutrition and various retail formats. Existing formats under the Sorbet umbrella are salons, nail bars, drybars, Sorbet Man and Candi & Co. Fuhr revealed that wellness, spas and fitness are most definitely on the radar in the future. He continued: “Long4Life is able to fund new acquisitions for Sorbet and we plan to build a large health and beauty conglomerate in the years to come. On our own, we were never able to make such acquisitions and it is the one new area of business that is very appealing. “The entire Sorbet leadership team will be staying on and merging new companies into the Sorbet Group presents an exciting challenge. In the meantime, it has been business as usual for our franchisees.” Commenting on his reasons for selling Sorbet, Fuhr said: “Several approaches by various private equity and listed companies have been made over the years to buy the Sorbet Group. We rejected those but when Brian Joffe (Bidvest) and Kevin Hedderwick (Famous Brands) approached us, it was an opportunity we could not turn down. Brian and Kevin are both legends in the business world, having built enormous businesses in both South Africa and abroad. The prospect of working with, and learning from, these gentlemen was very attractive.“In April 2017, they listed a new company called Long4Life, which subsequently bought 100% of the Sorbet Group. Essentially we have swapped our shares in Sorbet for shares in Long4Life, which we believe has a great future.” In terms of the Sorbet treatment offering, Fuhr noted that Dermalogica and Environ are both very important skincare brands for the group. “We represent a significant share of their business in South Africa and have absolutely no plans to cut either of these brands.”Sorbet guests might have noticed a slight change in the look of salons of late. Said Fuhr: “We do regular brand refresh exercises as we believe that it is important to keep up with the latest trends and to present a contemporary look in our salons. As such, we are currently involved in a new brand refresh project which we hope to launch by the end of this year.”Meanwhile, Sorbet’s fifth store in the UK will open this month in Temple Fortune, North London. (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)