Rohan, a rather special British chain of outdoor stores, has gone through one more change of ownership. H. Young Holdings has taken it over from the Cann family trust, which had bought it in 2007 along with Colin Fisher. Roger Cann, a 47-year-old member of the family who has been running it for the past four years, will remain at its helm, however.

Rohan ranks as the fifth-largest outdoor retailer in the U.K., but it is different because it is more travel- and lifestyle-oriented and because the vast majority of the garments and other products sold in its stores and on its website are internally developed private label items. The only major exceptions are some models of Ecco shoes and some backpacks by Eagle Creek.  

Founded in 1972 and based in Milton Keynes, the company generates an annual turnover of £28 million (€32.5m-$36.5m) a year through its website and a network of 56 stores across the U.K. It targets an older clientele than other major outdoor retailers in the U.K. Clarks was one of its previous owners.

The Cann family continues to play an important role in the outdoor sector as the owner of the Bollin Group, whose holdings include Bridgedale, Mountain Equipment, Ron Hill, Sprayway and Burton McCall.                                       

H. Young owns other sports-related properties such as Animal, an English brand of surf-inspired clothing, and Madison, a large distributor of bicycle parts and accessories that is also active in the outdoor and lifestyle retail channels.  

No change is expected in Rohan's strategy, which sets it apart from a fierce competition in the British outdoor market, but the management is said to be considering a possible expansion into Germany and other markets including the U.S., where it has an online store.

Rohan will probably continue to collect used clothing and equipment through the “Gift Your Gear” program initiated by one of its founders, Sarah Howcroft, who is now 67 years old. The gear is collected at Rohan stores and other locations all over the U.K. and stored in a warehouse in Manchester to be donated to about 350 youth groups and other community organizations, encouraging them to enjoy the outdoors.