Brooks Brothers Suits Retail Brand Alliance

British retailer Marks & Spencer on Nov. 23 sold New York-based cataloger/retailer Brooks Brothers to Retail Brand Alliance. Enfield, CT-based Retail Brand Alliance, which owns the Casual Corner and Petite Sophisticate women’s apparel retail chains, jewelery manufacturer Carolee, and womenswear brand Adrienne Vittadini, paid $225 million for Brooks Brothers. When Marks & Spencer bought the upmarket men’s and women’s apparel marketer in 1987, it had paid $750 million.

Marks & Spencer put Brooks Brothers on the market this summer, in order to focus on its struggling core business. The list of bidders for Brooks Brothers included May Co., Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Men’s Wearhouse.

According to reports, Retail Brand Alliance’s chief operating officer, Mark Shulman, is considering expanding Brooks Brothers’ product line of traditional business-wear to better target buyers in their 20s. Shulman also said he would consider adding a children’s apparel line. Retail Brand Alliance had not returned calls by press time.

Given Shulman’s reported plans, it’s interesting that some observers contend that the 175-year-old Brooks Brothers got into trouble by straying from its upscale “classic” merchandise. “The problem with Brooks Brothers under a mass merchandiser like Marks & Spencer was that [Marks & Spencer] was not schooled in marketing to a high-dollar customer,” says Manasquan, NJ-based catalog consultant Al Schmidt, and formerly vice president of marketing for Brooks Brothers. “It’s a much different proposition.”

Partner Content

The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.
Strategies for Maximizing Mobile Point-of-Sale Technology - NetSuite
Learn the top five innovative ways to utilize your mobile POS technology to drive customer engagement, increase sales and elevate your brand.