G-III Apparel Group Ltd. jumped into the outlet business Tuesday, paying $22.3 million to acquire the Wilsons The Leather Experts Inc. name and operations at 116 outlet stores.
The cash deal, disclosed after the market closed Tuesday, also included $18.5 million in inventory, distribution center operations and other trademarks and trade names. Joel Waller, Wilsons' former chief executive officer and ceo at The Wet Seal Inc. until stepping down in September, will return as president of G-III's new outlet division.
The company, which had been known as Wilsons and will now be called PreVu Inc., said the sale was part of its evolution to a mall-based accessories chain. Not included in the transaction are about 100 mall stores and a limited number of airport kiosk operations.
The deal gives G-III a vertical presence in the market, with both wholesale and retail operations and all the attendant concerns.
"Through carefully segregating our retail assortment from our wholesale offerings, we believe we can reenergize the Wilsons outlet stores under our direction without conflict to our existing customer base," said Morris Goldfarb, G-III's chairman and ceo. "We expect to be able to seamlessly create a vertical retail organization and move quickly to realize the benefits of that structure."
The new division will include about 900 employees in store operations, merchandising, distribution, real estate and other back office operations in Minneapolis.
"There is an excellent opportunity to return this business to improved levels of profitability and to place it on a growth trajectory," Goldfarb said.
G-III produces sportswear and outwear under its owned names, such as Andrew Marc, and under licensing deals with Calvin Klein, Sean John, Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger and others.
The outlet stores will carry a mixture of private-label and closeout goods, said Wayne S. Miller, G-III's chief operating officer.
"This is a great way to hit the ground running," he said. "We've wanted to be in the retail business for some time. It's a great marriage for us to get into the business."
Wilsons has struggled with strategic changes and general weakness in the economy.
G-III increased its guidance for this year after the acquisition, projecting earnings of $23.5 million to $24.4 million, up from $21.8 million to $22.7 million. Sales are slated to range from $720 million to $730 million, compared with the previously anticipated $650 million to $660 million.
Michael Searles, ceo of Wilsons since December 2004, left in March after the company reported a net loss for its fiscal year of $77.5 million on a sales decline of 12.7 percent to $280.4 million. In February, the company, which never recovered fully from the acquisition of a travel retail operation before the 9/11 attacks, laid out plans to close 160 stores and cut more than 1,000 jobs.
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye
Did you know: @carlychaikin of "Mr. Robot" has been painting for about a decade? The actress, who plays Darlene on the show, is a self-taught artist who lists Salvador Dalí and Chuck Close as some of her idols. Chaikin told WWD that painting is a form of meditation for her — A much-needed one given the intensity of "Mr. Robot." See a piece Chaikin is working on at WWD.com (📷: @jilliansollazzo) #wwdeye