Look, not a ton of guys who read this site shop at Brooks Brothers. Some certainly do. But Brooks Brothers definitely skews older. Yet I don’t think it’d be a huge exaggeration to say that Brooks Brothers kinda sorta “invented the wheel” when it comes to American ready to wear men’s clothing. Brooks Brothers is to clothes as Ford is to cars. At least in regards to driving the proliferation of the product in the United States.
And now they’re the latest big name to head to Bankruptcy court in the midst of the global pandemic.
They’ll close 51 of their 200+ stores in North America. Also closing, soon, will be their US based factories:
“By Aug. 15, it will cease its manufacturing work at facilities in Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York, where it produces suits, ties and some shirts. Those facilities produce about 7% of the brand’s goods. – CNBC
Like J. Crew, there were signs of weirdness at Brooks Brothers the last few years. They seemed to be like a boxer, already dazed, now swinging wildly about. Just looping haymakers instead of some sort of discipline.
Long time customers complained some of their shirts changed. The younger leaning “Red Fleece” line seemed to not really… stick? And eyebrows were raised when they stopped carrying USA made Allen Edmonds shoes, and instead switched to their own, branded, Italian made shoes… which just didn’t look or feel the same.
Perhaps all weird canaries in that particular menswear coal mine, and hindsight is 20/20… but. Well. Yeah.
Brooks Brothers is not owned by a Private Equity firm, but instead by Italian Businessman Claudio Del Vecchio, the son of the man who founded sunglasses giant Luxotticca. But Brooks Brothers is certainly now looking for a buyer. Also, according to CNBC, they’ve secured “$75 million in debtor in possession financing from brand management firm WHP Global, which is backed by Oaktree Capital and Blackrock. That comes on top of a $20 million loan it secured from Gordon Brothers in May.” So operations should continue more or less as they work their way through Chapter 11.
Hat tip to Andrew C. for sending word on the news.
A Brooks Brothers blazer. Which is something Brooks Brothers has made, for a very, very long time.