DULUTH - The deal is done - Maurices is now owned by OpCapita, a private equity firm based in London.

The new owners officially took over Duluth's homegrown 88-year-old women's apparel retailer late Monday afternoon, prompting festivities at the Maurices headquarters on Superior Street.

"I couldn't ask for a better partner than OpCapita to really help drive this business forward," Maurices CEO George Goldfarb told employees who had gathered for champagne and cake. "In celebration of all the pages we've written, the chapters we've now closed and the exciting stories we have yet to write - to a new day, cheers."

OpCapita announced in March it would be paying $300 million for a controlling stake in Maurices, which Ascena Retail Group owned for the past 14 years. Ascena will continue to hold a minority stake in the business and provide a variety of business services.

OpCapita said its strategy for Maurices will be similar to that employed in the successful turnaround of NKD, with a focus on optimizing sourcing, merchandising and inventory management. "Stated simply, our goal is to offer our customers the right product at the right price," the company said.

OpCapita specializes in "transforming operationally underperforming businesses."

"Maurices will remain headquartered in Duluth and will continue its commitment to being a strong community partner through philanthropic support as well as community engagement and leadership, as several of our associates serve on local boards and volunteer their time," Goldfarb said. "And we will continue to give back locally through our 'Best Day Ever.'"