Titus_A

Super Member
Get rid of all the airport boutiques, for goodness sakes!
Frankly, those airport shops are some of the most useful things anywhere. They can really save your bacon if you have a luggage or similar emergency on a business trip. They only need half a dozen items or so in them: maybe they can trim them down to be operated as robot-controlled dispensaries.
 

AldenPyle

Honors Member
Sad day. At one level, this is just part of the major retrenchment that you see in all parts of the retail industry. The acceleration due to the downturn means that Brooks needs to file to break their long-term leases. Going back to 100 or 50 or 20 stores might not be so bad. On the other hand, it does seem to me that there has been a significant downshift in tailored business apparel in the last 5 years, even relative to the previous low.

Seems like the real immediate danger is that the Southwick factory will close for good. As far as I can tell, they are the main producer for Press and OConnells. I'd worry about Press too.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Sad day. At one level, this is just part of the major retrenchment that you see in all parts of the retail industry. The acceleration due to the downturn means that Brooks needs to file to break their long-term leases. Going back to 100 or 50 or 20 stores might not be so bad. On the other hand, it does seem to me that there has been a significant downshift in tailored business apparel in the last 5 years, even relative to the previous low.

Seems like the real immediate danger is that the Southwick factory will close for good. As far as I can tell, they are the main producer for Press and OConnells. I'd worry about Press too.
"...it does seem to me that there has been a significant downshift in tailored business apparel in the last 5 years, even relative to the previous low. "

I've noticed this too. I think it's been pretty dramatic.

Many businesses - in finance and in NYC - went to biz casual or all casual in this time frame. Business dinners at nice restaurants, five years ago, were still mainly suit-and-tie affairs (at least in NYC and in finance), but that changed. And the few tech firms I know, where some of the senior guys / finance guys would still dress in suits (at least occasionally for important meetings, etc.), don't anymore.

Weddings, funerals, social dinner outs - all change dramatically in the past five years. Even on TV, many characters who would have worn suits and ties, even five years ago, don't anymore.

I bet there are business men under 30 who don't even own a suit or tie (or more than one of each). As you said, there was a dramatic shift away from suits / sport coats and ties in the past five years. To be honest, I was stunned by it as I thought we had already seen the big shift away and thought suits and ties would hold onto a smaller but still-noticeable part of the market. That "small" part of the market is looking much smaller today.
 

DCR

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Possibly some good news as per today's WSJ:

By July 18, 2020 533 am ET Eric Sylvers

The race to buy Brooks Brothers out of bankruptcy is about to get a little more crowded with a group of Italian investors planning to bid for the quintessential American clothing brand and introduce some European flair.

Milan-based Giglio Group SpA, which helps fashion companies improve online sales, is spearheading the group of investors. If successful, Giglio plans to install Italian managers with fashion-industry experience and close stores to free up funds to invest in digital. Brooks Brothers’ three U.S. factories, which are slated to close next month, would remain open and overseas production would be consolidated in Italy.

“We want a fusion of the American DNA that defines Brooks Brothers with the Italian experience and know-how that we can add,” Giglio Chief Executive Alessandro Giglio said in an interview
.

Brooks Brothers, which is currently owned by Italian businessman Claudio Del Vecchio, collapsed under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic that dealt a knockout blow to a company already suffering from a general shift in tastes away from formal apparel. After two centuries in business, with a raft of illustrious clients including several former U.S. presidents, Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy on July 8.

Interested bidders include Sparc Group LLC, an apparel company backed by Authentic Brands Group LLC, which is providing financing to Brooks Brothers to get it through the bankruptcy, and WHP Global Inc., according to people familiar with the situation. “It’s going to be a tough fight, but I like our chances,” Mr. Giglio said. “We normally help brands rather than buy them, but the opportunity to remake an iconic brand like Brooks Brothers from zero was too appealing to pass up.” Giglio and other suitors need to submit formal bids by Aug. 5. A spokeswoman for Brooks Brothers declined to say how many expressions of interest the company has received. Giglio, which is listed on the Italian stock exchange with a market value of about €49 million ($56 million), builds and manages e-commerce websites for fashion and design companies, and helps increase their revenue by getting the products placed on online marketplaces.

Its clients include Armani and other Italian brands such as Max Mara, Colmar and Kartell. Giglio is flanked by Luciano Donatelli, an Italian fashion-industry consultant who brought the idea of buying Brooks Brothers to Mr. Giglio. Mr. Giglio said other Italian companies were backing the bid, and that Chinese investors also had expressed an interest. While some funding for the deal might come from China, the soul of the group would be Italian, he said. Mr. Del Vecchio, Brooks Brothers’ current owner, is a low-profile Italian businessman who isn’t particularly well-known in his home country. His father, Leonardo Del Vecchio, is one of the country’s richest people and founded eyeglass company Luxottica, which merged to become the Franco-Italian giant EssilorLuxottica. Mr. Giglio and Mr. Del Vecchio don’t know each other.

Despite Brooks Brothers’ American pedigree, Mr. Giglio said keeping the brand under Italian ownership was critical for his plan to move it upmarket. 7/20/2020 Brooks Brothers’ Latest Suitor Wants to Bring Italian Flair to American Fashion - WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/brooks...ican-fashion-11595064809?mod=itp_wsj&ru=yahoo 3/4 Brooks Brothers’ annual revenue, which was $971 million last year, could reach $3 billion in five years with the right investments, Mr. Donatelli said. While details of the bid by the Giglio-led consortium still need to be defined, a key component will be closing many of Brooks Brothers’ 500 stores—200 of which are in the U.S.—and increasing the brand’s online sales. A Brooks Brothers spokeswoman declined to say what percent of sales is online. Mr. Giglio said he won’t be able to estimate how many stores would be closed under his group’s plan until he has had more time to study Brooks Brothers’ financial situation. “With the coronavirus, there was a Copernican revolution, and there is no going back,” said Mr. Giglio. “Stores were the focal point, and e-commerce played a supporting role, but we have to get our head around the fact that it’s now completely flipped. Having a store on Madison Avenue [in New York] and in other large cities around the world isn’t sustainable anymore for most fashion brands.”

In addition to scaling back the number of stores while focusing on e-commerce, Messrs. Giglio and Donatelli want to boost Brooks Brothers’ presence in Asia. They think the brand’s long history could be leveraged in China to increase revenue. They also plan to increase Brooks Brothers’ clothing lines, while developing the accessories business, including footwear. Law firm Dentons is advising Giglio and its partners on their bid for Brooks Brothers.
 

Mike Petrik

Honors Member
Possibly some good news as per today's WSJ:

By July 18, 2020 533 am ET Eric Sylvers

The race to buy Brooks Brothers out of bankruptcy is about to get a little more crowded with a group of Italian investors planning to bid for the quintessential American clothing brand and introduce some European flair.

Milan-based Giglio Group SpA, which helps fashion companies improve online sales, is spearheading the group of investors. If successful, Giglio plans to install Italian managers with fashion-industry experience and close stores to free up funds to invest in digital. Brooks Brothers’ three U.S. factories, which are slated to close next month, would remain open and overseas production would be consolidated in Italy.

“We want a fusion of the American DNA that defines Brooks Brothers with the Italian experience and know-how that we can add,” Giglio Chief Executive Alessandro Giglio said in an interview
.

Brooks Brothers, which is currently owned by Italian businessman Claudio Del Vecchio, collapsed under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic that dealt a knockout blow to a company already suffering from a general shift in tastes away from formal apparel. After two centuries in business, with a raft of illustrious clients including several former U.S. presidents, Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy on July 8.

Interested bidders include Sparc Group LLC, an apparel company backed by Authentic Brands Group LLC, which is providing financing to Brooks Brothers to get it through the bankruptcy, and WHP Global Inc., according to people familiar with the situation. “It’s going to be a tough fight, but I like our chances,” Mr. Giglio said. “We normally help brands rather than buy them, but the opportunity to remake an iconic brand like Brooks Brothers from zero was too appealing to pass up.” Giglio and other suitors need to submit formal bids by Aug. 5. A spokeswoman for Brooks Brothers declined to say how many expressions of interest the company has received. Giglio, which is listed on the Italian stock exchange with a market value of about €49 million ($56 million), builds and manages e-commerce websites for fashion and design companies, and helps increase their revenue by getting the products placed on online marketplaces.

Its clients include Armani and other Italian brands such as Max Mara, Colmar and Kartell. Giglio is flanked by Luciano Donatelli, an Italian fashion-industry consultant who brought the idea of buying Brooks Brothers to Mr. Giglio. Mr. Giglio said other Italian companies were backing the bid, and that Chinese investors also had expressed an interest. While some funding for the deal might come from China, the soul of the group would be Italian, he said. Mr. Del Vecchio, Brooks Brothers’ current owner, is a low-profile Italian businessman who isn’t particularly well-known in his home country. His father, Leonardo Del Vecchio, is one of the country’s richest people and founded eyeglass company Luxottica, which merged to become the Franco-Italian giant EssilorLuxottica. Mr. Giglio and Mr. Del Vecchio don’t know each other.

Despite Brooks Brothers’ American pedigree, Mr. Giglio said keeping the brand under Italian ownership was critical for his plan to move it upmarket. 7/20/2020 Brooks Brothers’ Latest Suitor Wants to Bring Italian Flair to American Fashion - WSJ https://www.wsj.com/articles/brooks...ican-fashion-11595064809?mod=itp_wsj&ru=yahoo 3/4 Brooks Brothers’ annual revenue, which was $971 million last year, could reach $3 billion in five years with the right investments, Mr. Donatelli said. While details of the bid by the Giglio-led consortium still need to be defined, a key component will be closing many of Brooks Brothers’ 500 stores—200 of which are in the U.S.—and increasing the brand’s online sales. A Brooks Brothers spokeswoman declined to say what percent of sales is online. Mr. Giglio said he won’t be able to estimate how many stores would be closed under his group’s plan until he has had more time to study Brooks Brothers’ financial situation. “With the coronavirus, there was a Copernican revolution, and there is no going back,” said Mr. Giglio. “Stores were the focal point, and e-commerce played a supporting role, but we have to get our head around the fact that it’s now completely flipped. Having a store on Madison Avenue [in New York] and in other large cities around the world isn’t sustainable anymore for most fashion brands.”

In addition to scaling back the number of stores while focusing on e-commerce, Messrs. Giglio and Donatelli want to boost Brooks Brothers’ presence in Asia. They think the brand’s long history could be leveraged in China to increase revenue. They also plan to increase Brooks Brothers’ clothing lines, while developing the accessories business, including footwear. Law firm Dentons is advising Giglio and its partners on their bid for Brooks Brothers.
Heavy sigh.
 

never behind

Senior Member
"...it does seem to me that there has been a significant downshift in tailored business apparel in the last 5 years, even relative to the previous low. "

I've noticed this too. I think it's been pretty dramatic.

Many businesses - in finance and in NYC - went to biz casual or all casual in this time frame. Business dinners at nice restaurants, five years ago, were still mainly suit-and-tie affairs (at least in NYC and in finance), but that changed. And the few tech firms I know, where some of the senior guys / finance guys would still dress in suits (at least occasionally for important meetings, etc.), don't anymore.

Weddings, funerals, social dinner outs - all change dramatically in the past five years. Even on TV, many characters who would have worn suits and ties, even five years ago, don't anymore.

I bet there are business men under 30 who don't even own a suit or tie (or more than one of each). As you said, there was a dramatic shift away from suits / sport coats and ties in the past five years. To be honest, I was stunned by it as I thought we had already seen the big shift away and thought suits and ties would hold onto a smaller but still-noticeable part of the market. That "small" part of the market is looking much smaller today.
I can say from personal experience I went from wearing a suit everyday five years ago to now being able to wear jeans/polo if I want. I am 46, and I own one suit - one! I was going to refresh my suit collection starting 2 years ago but after buying the first one, the dress code at my formerly super-conservative accounting firm went to “dress for your day.” I’ve worn that suit less than six times in two years. I keep thinking about buying more suits but then say, “why?” I normally wear jacket/trousers every day and I’m the “fanciest” person in the office. It’s amazing how quickly it changed.
 

roman totale XVII

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
“We want a fusion of the American DNA that defines Brooks Brothers with the Italian experience and know-how that we can add,” Giglio Chief Executive Alessandro Giglio said in an interview.
Isn’t that almost word-for-word what Del Vecchio said when he took over 20 years ago??
 

Adriel Rowley

Senior Member
Seems like the real immediate danger is that the Southwick factory will close for good. As far as I can tell, they are the main producer for Press and OConnells. I'd worry about Press too.
And the Garland, North Carolina shirt factory Ratio uses: https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article242769746.html. Tried contacting Ratio, got nothing, so seems now even more unlikely will not get the six shirts corrected and all those hundreds of dollars wasted.

How would the Southwick closure not affect O'Connells? They are the only OTR trouser that fits me good and finding my own woolens for tailoring my own bespoke trousers has been a challenge.

Seems to me bringing manufacturing back to the States is a pipe dream, unless a way to have these factories sell to small companies like Ratio and/or directly to the consumer. Also, see the end of brick and mortar stores, which for this Autistic is fine (I am loving not having to go out to medical appointments or get groceries). :p
 

DCR

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Isn’t that almost word-for-word what Del Vecchio said when he took over 20 years ago??
I have no idea however without Del Vecchio it's likely that BB would be in far worse shape than it is now and Southwick and Garland would be long gone. If this Italian consortium acquires BB and re-opens the US factories, reduces the B&M footprint (the leases to which resulted in the massive debt load that cause the Chapter 11 filing) and improves the internet presence then I'd say that is a tremendous improvement vs what the other suitors are likely to do.

The other point they made about moving BB back up-market is a positive as well IMO.

eta: they plan to consolidate overseas production in Italy. Frankly that suits me far better than seeing made in China on the label.
 

Mike Petrik

Honors Member
I have no idea however without Del Vecchio it's likely that BB would be in far worse shape than it is now and Southwick and Garland would be long gone. If this Italian consortium acquires BB and re-opens the US factories, reduces the B&M footprint (the leases to which resulted in the massive debt load that cause the Chapter 11 filing) and improves the internet presence then I'd say that is a tremendous improvement vs what the other suitors are likely to do.

The other point they made about moving BB back up-market is a positive as well IMO.

eta: they plan to consolidate overseas production in Italy. Frankly that suits me far better than seeing made in China on the label.
Only if they keep a line of classic American trad menswear. If not, then for me it is pointless. Folks can buy expensive fashion stuff lots of places.
 

blue suede shoes

Super Member
These buyers apparently have no idea what they have. They (Del Vecchio included) think it is just another brand patronized by higher income groups that they can use the existing customer base and infrastructure to sell European menswear. The last thing this world needs is another chain selling overpriced avant-garde menswear with "flair".
 

rl1856

Senior Member
I see good and bad in the story. I believe BB should decrease their BM footprint overall, but expand in Asia. Covid accelerated the trend already in place to migrate commerce to the web. There are several very successful men's clothing vendors who do most of their business online...Mercer, OConnells, Ben Silver etc. If BB can combine cutting edge digital fitting tech with the ability to do just in time manufacturing- by continuing to own their factories, then there is potential for success. I don't think we will ever go back to an era when BB stocked 3r2 sacks as regular store merchandise. However it would be nice to be able to purchase one online, with a level of precision added by digital measurements. Same for comfortably fitting plain front trousers, and a full cut OCBD. BB needs to embrace their heritage by making clothing with (their) unique style. They do NOT need to imitate someone else, or the style of another country. They are uniquely American.

I am troubled by this statement: "but the opportunity to remake an iconic brand like Brooks Brothers from zero was too appealing to pass up". REMAKE ? From what to what ? This statement implies that BB does not have a foundation, or history, let alone a heritage. Anyone purchasing BB has to understand they are buying an iconic brand with significant loyalty. To ignore this is to ignore the untapped value -in- the brand, and will consign the buyer to more losses, and the company to eventual liquidation.

What is fascinating to me, is how many conversations regarding BB and bankruptcy I have had with other people. This issue has touched something deep within. Think about it; when was the last time the bankruptcy filing of a merchant was a topic of casual conversation ? There is opportunity for the right buyer. I just hope the right buyer emerges.
 
I do know that BBs already has a market presence in Asia

I would be interested in seeing a report of the Asian footprint. There was a BB just down the street from my wife’s apartment in Bangkok.

How BBs thought they could ever play in the Bangkok a market with independent tailors on every corner on Sukumvit is beyond me.

Cheers,

BSR
 

Hayek

Senior Member
Ditto...I live in the UAE now and we have BB here (along with TM Lewin and others), but why would I go there when I can get 100% bespoke suits and sportcoats from the very capable Indian tailors in town?
 

August West

Senior Member
There are several very successful men's clothing vendors who do most of their business online...Mercer, OConnells, Ben Silver etc.
As to O'Connell's and Ben Siver, do you know this to be true or are you speculating? I am not challenging you, I'm curious. Both have retail locations and I believe are privately owned which would make it difficult to get information about such things I would think?
 

kkollwitz

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I retired to Ecuador in 2017, and not a moment too soon. Long ago I could buy BB stuff without thinking, about like ordering a cup of coffee. But then it got to be complicated and fussy, like ordering a cup of coffee has become. No gracias to either now. Somewhere I still have a beautiful little glossy paperback-size BB catalog back from before BB got weird. I feel the need to browse it again with a plain cup of coffee.
 

carrda04

New Member
Some of the rumored bids are taking shape.

 
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