Brooks Brothers files for bankruptcy, still seeking buyer

Brooks Brothers, the 202-yr-outdated men’s clothier that has dressed dozens of US presidents and innumerable Wall Road bankers, filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday.

The storied New York-based mostly retailer, which operates 200 outlets across the US and a lot more than five hundred globally, is the most up-to-date retail casualty of the coronavirus pandemic that has by now forced Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, J.Crew and some others into bankruptcy proceedings.

The iconic manufacturer, which popularized business-uniform staples together with striped “repp” ties and buttoned-down shirt collars, has struggled in the latest years in an significantly informal workplace. Suits significantly have been replaced by khakis, jeans and hoodies.

This spring, nonetheless, the coronavirus epidemic not only shuttered outlets but remaining clients hunkered down at house, operating in sweatpants. Brooks Brothers had by now announced strategies to close 50 outlets right before the Chapter 11 submitting.

Despite the fact that most of its apparel is imported, Brooks Brothers is 1 of the couple of US chains that however helps make some of its goods domestically. Very last thirty day period, the firm it may close its 3 US factories, 1 of which is in Prolonged Island Town, Queens, exactly where it helps make its ties. The firm helps make its satisfies in a manufacturing facility in Haverhill, Mass. and its shirts in Garland, NC.

Owned by Italian retail tycoon Claudio Del Vecchio, the firm last yr hired investment lender PJ Solomon to locate a customer, but this spring the COVID-19 disaster threw a wrench into individuals strategies. The chain has snagged $seventy five million in financing to aid it by way of the Chapter 11 process, courtroom documents demonstrate.

“The reason of this submitting is to get added financing and facilitate a sale process in an productive fashion to maximize benefit for our stakeholders and ensure that our iconic manufacturer is positioned to continue on less than new ownership,” a firm spokesperson advised The Put up. “Brooks Brothers is listed here to remain and serve our loyal clients for years to appear.”

Founded in 1818 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the firm offers of acquiring outfitted 41 of forty five US presidents. Abraham Lincoln was a loyal buyer, and explained to be putting on a Brooks Brothers suit on the night he was assassinated. Teddy and Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Invoice Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama also were being shoppers.

Licensing company Reliable Brands Group, operator of Barneys New York, Permanently 21 and Sports Illustrated, is between the businesses looking at attaining Brooks Brothers, sources advised The Put up. But the manufacturer faces important difficulties, market sources say, together with its stuffy impression.

“Brooks Brothers is a fantastic identify, but it is a yesterday manufacturer,” Craig Johnson, president of Client Advancement Companions. “It’s a design and style assertion that is not as applicable to individuals right now as it was a technology in the past.”

Clothing manufacturers are struggling as individuals expend less of their disposable money on apparel amid the pandemic. Apparel profits are down forty two percent yr to date, according to CGP. Apparel accounts for just three.8 percent of retail investing right now in comparison to nine percent in 2000.