Brooks Brothers Bankruptcy: Nostalgia, Anger, and a Bidding War
The abandonment of the suit helps explain the struggles of one of America's most iconic fashion companies, brooks brothers, the two hundred two year old brand filed for bankruptcy protection on July eight sure blame cove nineteen, but now you'd be wrong. Suits with the three piece with Thai or skirts and high heels used to convey professionalism and competence, they served as symbols that you took your job seriously and respected your customers, the ones you were treating too expensive lunches, madman style, but even before the pandemic they'd become something of an anachronism. Most of us now see little to no relationship between the way we dress in our competence at work, think Mark Zuckerberg's hoodies. Indeed expensive suits can be viewed as a sign of elitism. Put it starkly. The corporate fashion code has gone by the wayside. Brooks brothers struggles represent a cultural shift, not just a Kobe tragedy. Brooks brothers famously dressed all but four presidents. It is the longest continuously operating fashion business in America and until this month it boasted about making its products in America the Brandon's three factories in the states in Massachusetts North, Carolina and New York. CEO Claude Delvecchio is planning to close those factories. We'll get to that in a minute. As you know, apparel sales have been decimated by pandemic closures in April nobody bought clothes whether from Brooks brothers or JC, Penney and other retail casualty, but did you know the actual numbers? Clothing sales fell almost ninety percent in April, according to retail dive, but brooks brothers began looking for a buyer about a year ago. The company operates five hundred stores two hundred of them in the US sales have been flat at about a billion dollars a year since twenty, seventeen, prior to the pandemic bankers estimated the company's value at three hundred to three hundred fifty million dollars. Figure Delvecchio disputed. As, I mentioned the company intends to close its three US factories later this month in the gritty industrial town of. Massachusetts home of its largest factory. Its largest immigrant workforce is being denied severance pay many of those workers, immigrants and refugees women from the Dominican Republic. Vietnam Burma and Nepal have made the company's fine clothing for years so far brooks isn't budging. Despite pleas from the union, and from members of Congress according to the Boston Globe in North Carolina, the factories, the only large employer in the little town of Garland closure would affect that town forever, mayor winifred. Hill, Murphy told The New York Times. In response, CEO, Del Vecchio, says for survival. We must hang onto as much cash as possible, but the globe reports that its chapter eleven filing includes plans to give compensation benefits, severance and bonuses totaling millions to other workers. Brooks brothers will transform, but unlike many of its retail brethren its survival is not in question. In fact, at least one bidder for the company believes it can earn annual revenue of three billion dollars within five years more than triple its current sales, so many buyers are vying for the brand at both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg used the phrase the races on those making bids. Bids Include Mall Company Simon, property, group, authentic brands, group and W. H. P. Global another bidder is a group of Italian. Investors led by a company called GIO which typically helps fashion companies improve their online presences. The Wall Street Journal possibly with tongue firmly in cheek, considering the state cut of Brooks brothers clothing says Julia wants to quote introduced some European flair to the quintessential American brand. Julia's clients include Armani Maxmara and other designers. Brooks brothers is accepting bids through August fifth, so brooks will survive, but what about it's cheaper? Rival men's warehouse tailored brands which owns men's warehouse and the more upscale Joseph. A. Bank plans to close at least a third of its fifteen hundred stores. It said this month it hasn't filed for chapter eleven protection, but it came close according to CNN. That threat remains even after it stores reopened. Sales have been falling. They were down about eighty percent at Joseph A. Bank in the first week of June, as we all continue to do business in Pajama Pants as we all know nostalgia sells Joseph A. Bank doesn't have nearly the name or the history of Brooks brothers, which drips with nostalgia. Teddy Roosevelt apparently insisted his rough riders. Riders wear the Brand Abe. Lincoln was also a brooks brothers customer, one reason for the bidding war beyond what is sure to be the lowest price anyone ever imagined for the stalwart brand. Is What author Lisa Burn? Bach believes about Fashions Post. Pandemic Future Birnbaum who authored the twenty ten book true. Prep argues that the company must be saved after the pandemic finally end, she writes. There will be weddings. There will be funerals. There will be. We hope live operas and theatre and premieres in concerts and fancy dress parties. Where we can't predict the future, but we can observe the present, and what's happening to upscale apparel in the US. WHO's buying it and WHO's making it. Reveals a lot about our rapidly changing an enormously conflicted culture.