Boston Apparel Group Lays Off 300; Plans To Close Facility

The Boston Apparel Group is downsizing in a big way. The multititle apparel mailer will lay off more than 300 workers at its former Chadwick’s of Boston facility, according to the Taunton (MA) DailyGazette. Layoffs will begin later this month and officials will ultimately close the facility.

Union and nonunion workers received warning letters, according to the newspaper, with mixed messages. Both letters cited the “recent economic recession” and the company’s “significant debt obligations” for the layoffs scheduled to begin June 25.

What’s more, the letters note a “potential purchaser who is interested in operating some or all of the company’s business.” But the letter to union workers states that “the prospective buyer will not offer employment to any of your members.”

Monomoy Capital Partners created Boston Apparel Group in July 2008 after it bought the Missy division of multititle apparel mailer Redcats USA, which included Chadwick’s, Metrostyle and Closeout Catalog Outlet. The company bought Casual Living from Thompson and Co. in February 2010.
Steven Lightman, who had previously served as president of Sharper Image Corp. and Crosstown Traders, took over as CEO of Boston Apparel Group in January.

So what happened? Stuart Rose, managing director at investment bank Tully & Holland, says Boston Apparel Group has had “extreme difficulties” with its fulfillment operations. “I would guess the backorders and missed demand affected sales, and that is probably the root cause.”

In the end, Rose notes, “they have to make the systems work. I’ve been in companies with systems problems and it’s no fun. You have to eliminate every error.”