Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. Friday confirmed that it was actively pursuing acquisitions and said it had retained Financo LLC to assist in the search.
Although Bank has long been believed to be interested in effecting an acquisition as the store count under its flagship brand has approached and now exceeded 600, the company said after its annual meeting Friday that it “has been and is considering strategic opportunities to enhance shareholder value,” including potential purchases of other companies and brands.
While it’s endured several difficult quarters in the recent past — first-quarter profits fell 45.5 percent on a 2.6 percent sales decline — the Hampstead, Md.-based men’s wear retailer boasts both annual sales and a market capitalization of more than $1 billion, no bank debt, more than $100 million in Internet sales and, as of Feb. 2, $377 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments.
“Those assets are critical to our efforts to enhance shareholder value, both through strategic opportunities, such as acquisitions, and organic growth,” said Andrew Giordano, lead independent director. “Our pursuit of strategic opportunities is part of our philosophy of long-term planning and decision making.”
Due in part to its highly verticalized structure, the company has among the strongest margin yields in apparel retailing. Even last year, when profits and margins were down, gross margin was 58.3 percent of revenues and operating margin 12.2 percent.
Harrison noted that “after significant deliberation, the board believes that the best use of its excess cash would be to acquire another company where they can use the existing synergies and strengths within the organization. This is a company with an abundance of retailing, design, marketing, sourcing and supply chain talent, and the skills and talents of the organization, including Bob Wildrick, the chairman, can bring added value to any acquisition it would make.”
Jos. A. Bank’s statement establishes that the company has elected to use the availability of cash for acquisition purposes, rather than more short-term purposes such as stock repurchases or special dividends.
Shares of the retailer closed Friday at $39.63, down 31 cents, or 0.8 percent.
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia