default-output-block.skip-main
BoF Logo

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

Brooks Brothers Looks for a Buyer as Wall Street Works From Home

Even though its affluent clientele has little need for new suits at the moment, the brand’s history and cachet have elicited interest.
Brooks Brothers 2019 campaign | Source: Courtesy
By
  • Bloomberg

NEW YORK, United States — Brooks Brothers Inc., the two-century-old menswear company that set the standard for aspiring Wall Street bankers, is seeking to sell itself.

The retailer has extended a sale process begun last year, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because it wasn’t public. Depending on how many stores a buyer wanted, a transaction could ultimately be part of a bankruptcy filing, they said. The company has about $600 million in debt.

“In the ordinary course of business, Brooks Brothers consistently explores various strategic options to position the company for growth and success,” a company representative said in an email. The company has “nothing to announce at this time.”

Even as some states start to ease lockdowns aimed at containing the coronavirus pandemic, it remains to be seen how quickly consumers will return to stores and how much they’ll spend. While even the affluent Brooks Bros. clientele has little need for new suits at the moment, the brand’s history and cachet have elicited interest, the people said.

Many of the company’s approximately 250 U.S. locations have struggled, some of the people said. It operates a similar number of stores in more than 40 other countries, according to its website.

On the one hand, Brooks Brothers customers are less affected by the millions of job losses that have roiled the country, because many can do their jobs remotely. But it will be months or even years before workplaces can fully reopen, and no one knows what routines and habits, including what people wear to work, will look like post-pandemic.

Henry Sands Brooks opened the first store in 1818 on the corner of Cherry and Catherine streets in lower Manhattan. The company, which calls itself the oldest U.S. clothing retailer, has dressed U.S. presidents including John F. Kennedy and now sells men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.

Its suits became the uniform of the Wall Street macher, but as it expanded, it opened more stores in malls and on Main Streets, some of which are dragging on its performance now. British merchant Marks & Spencer bought the company in 1988, then sold it to billionaire Claudio del Vecchio in a deal completed in 2002.

By Lauren Coleman-Lochner and Eliza Ronalds-Hannon.

In This Article

© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions

More from Retail
Analysis and advice from the front lines of the retail transformation.

While GU, with slightly lower prices than Uniqlo and clothes aimed at younger clientele, has a solid presence in Japan, it’s less known in other major markets. Building its presence abroad is part of Fast Retailing founder Tadashi Yanai’s push to “become a true global player,” by first doubling annual profit to ¥5 trillion within a few years.



The best stores don’t just serve as billboards or customer touchpoints —they’re a stable and lucrative revenue stream. As younger consumers have embraced in-store shopping despite their digital native instincts, the value of stores is undeniable. Running an effective store requires choosing the right location, understanding its sales potential and making sure it serves its local clientele.



view more

Subscribe to the BoF Daily Digest

The essential daily round-up of fashion news, analysis, and breaking news alerts.

The Business of Fashion

Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.
CONNECT WITH US ON
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024
© 2024 The Business of Fashion. All rights reserved. For more information read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and Accessibility Statement.
BoF Professional Summit - New Frontiers: AI, Digital Culture and Virtual Worlds - March 22, 2024