Brooks Brothers For Sale?

Today WWD reported that Brooks Brothers has hired the investment bank PJ Solomon with eyes on a possible sale. As heard through the grapevine, there was talk that Claudio Del Vecchio would get through the 200th anniversary in 2018 and then perhaps look into unloading the brand.

WWD content is blocked by a paywall, but the story was picked up in the fashion trade publication MDS:

Brooks Brothers considers its sale. The company, owned since 2001 by businessman Claudio del Vecchio, has hired investment bank PJ Solomon to explore future options, including sale, according to WWD.

Earlier this week, the Italian newspaper Milano Finanza stated that Del Vecchio was exploring selling the historic American company, although the businessman had repeatedly said this was not on his plans.

Del Vecchio is the son of Leonardo del Vecchio, founder of the optics giant Luxottica. Although he began his career in the family company, the businessman left Luxottica in 1997 and took over the women’s fashion chain Casual Corner. In 2001, the executive took control of Brooks Brothers.

If the company is sold, it will be interesting indeed to see what the new owners do with it. — CC

26 Comments on "Brooks Brothers For Sale?"

  1. Henry Contestwinner | November 14, 2019 at 5:28 pm |

    Prediction: the new owners will open a café in every store. When they find food & beverage outdoing clothing, they’ll stop selling clothes.

    Brooks Brothers: the next Starbucks. Coming soon to a strip mall near you.

  2. If each Ivy Style reader chips in $5 million dollars or so, perhaps we can purchase Brooks Brothers ourselves and restore it to its former glory.

  3. Jesse Livermore | November 14, 2019 at 9:33 pm |

    PJ Solomon has done several deals for Hudson Bay Company (Saks 5th Avenue).

    Wouldn’t be a surprise to learn HBC is in the mix.

  4. If it is to get acquired it will more than likely be a PE firm that will leverage it to the hilt, drown it in debt, and eventually destroy it just as they have every other clothing retailer.

  5. The del Vecchio era will be remembered for what I call the “gigolo fit”: short, Thom Browne jackets that look almost like women’s jackets. Skinny lapels that look very Pee Wee Herman.

  6. Prediction: Jeff Bezos will purchase Brooks and make use of the revolutionary Amazon patents for making made to measure clothing:

  7. If BB disappears, I’ll only miss their neckties.

  8. The most likely potential buyers are the Chinese groups that are acquiring traditional brands such as Gieves & Hawkes on Savile Row. Like Polo Ralph Lifshitz, most of BB’s merchandise is made in China, Malaysia and SE Asia anyway. The changes would probably be minimal.

  9. A really creative visionary could do interesting things with the brand, but they would have to close the brand-tarnishing factory stores.

    Old Brooks had that Anglophiliac ‘edge’ — English Country; rustic, flannely, genuinely masculine. Vigorously tweedy. Maybe the Heyday killed that Brooks (oh, the irony). Certainly the last three decades of men being convinced women want beta-male ambivalence.

    I’d like to see a Brooks that offered an British-inspired version of what men who are drawn to, say, Filson, would wear when it’s time to dress up. A strong, verile version of English Country but with an American patina. Borrowing dollops from RRL, but more grown-up-man than hipster. If Hemingway had been into tweed, flannel, and oxfords–that sort of vibe.

    This won’t happen. It’s now too “Italian Department store” (Boyer) to go back.

  10. Vern Trotter | November 15, 2019 at 9:51 am |

    Close nearly all existing stores leaving only a half dozen or so of the most profitable. Go back to traveling salesmen. Emphasize the Internet and save millions in rent and expenses. Return to the style we adore.

    I think we could put together a consortium here and buy it. Bezos plans to buy an NFL team. He has no style anyway.

  11. Old School Tie | November 15, 2019 at 11:30 am |

    It is being bought by a consortium including Lil’ Yachty, Lil’ Wayne, Post Malone, Drake and Floyd Mayweather. It is going “street” and the clothes, accessories and shoes will be designed by Virgil Abloh, Pharrell and those Vetements guys. Probably. I hope all you guys enjoy flexing your new BB fits, really, I do.

  12. Maybe Kanye West could purchase and help Brooks Brothers change its ways and become something we at Ivy Style could love again.



  13. Poison Ivy Leaguer | November 15, 2019 at 12:22 pm |

    Maybe Del Vecchio wants to get outa’ Dodge before Pocahontas scalps all of the billionaires.

  14. Time to update/revisit the Roger Stone posts, CC …

  15. Charlottesville | November 15, 2019 at 1:26 pm |

    I’m with Mr. Trotter and S.E. As I said in a comment yesterday, hopefully a new owner will shut 75% of the brick-and-mortar stores and improve the quality of the clothing. Seems unlikely though.

    There just is not a sufficient market for traditional tailored clothing today to sustain the huge mall-store empire that they have built up over the last 15 years or so. The new owner will need to get rid of those leases, or start selling even more mass-market junk hoping that the Brooks name lends it credibility. Sort of like what happened to the once very traditional Abercrombie & Fitch. Frankly, that is already the direction BB has taken, although at inflated prices. I fear we will get lower quality, and Elias’ prediction above will come true. It’s a good thing the stuff I bought before their accelerated decline holds up so well. At this point, argyle socks, pajamas, oxford cloth boxers and the occasional tie are all I buy there anyway.

  16. Charlottesville | November 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm |

    Paul – Indeed. Orange may be the new bespoke chalk stripe for Mr. Stone.

  17. Poor Mr. Stone, from Savile Row to Skid Row.

  18. Buyer could spin off the factories. I would assume they would want to sell more units to cover the cash flow from the purchase. Licensing deals and more wholesaling to other retailers looks to be the future.

  19. May I suggest that new owners will bring in “Exciting New Ideas!” and “Forward Thinking Management!” to “Grow the Brand!” and they will promptly “Cut Corners” and it will “Turn to…”

    Well, you “Get the Idea”.

  20. I love BB and everything that it stands for. I continue to buy a lot from them. Hopefully the new owner will be a good steward of the brand.

  21. once the masses stop buying suits and ties dress shoes,it seems to me hard to turn a profit

  22. I think RL should acquire BB – wouldn’t that be amazing?

  23. Brooks Brothers has a place although maybe a smaller one moving forward.
    They need to scale back the mall stores, go back to the stand alone stores in urban areas that made them famous.
    They need to go back to what brought them, classic clothing. Fashion forward classics in sportswear and American traditional in clothing.
    Brooksgate for the younger customer coming up and Golden Fleece for Dad and Grandad. I also agree that the outlet stores have tarnished the brand as well.
    Finally as Makers and Merchants they should have a wholesale presence with men’s furnishings and children’s clothes not only in their own stores but in select department stores as well.
    The Brooks Customer is out there but they have tried too hard to be a “Fashion” store and need to go back to their roots of the classics.

  24. Arthur McLean | May 3, 2020 at 7:35 pm |

    Thank God for J. Press. I agree the BB factory stores and the crap they sell should be ditched. Become much smaller, say 10 to 12 cities max, Probably limit themselves to the cities they were in before say 1975. Would love to know which stores are profitable. Hear the main Dallas store has been quite successful. Don’t really know. J. Press does seem to know it’s boundaries well. Many good ideas mentioned above.

  25. These virtue signaling clothing lines are going over the bankruptcy cliff like stampeded buffalo and none of them seem to have a clue.

  26. Westchester Prep | August 3, 2021 at 9:30 pm |

    This aged well.

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