Unable to find a buyer since it announced it would sell its Lamb & Flag brand in June, Kellwood Co. on Thursday hired Hilco Streambank to market the start-up.
Lamb & Flag is described as a sexy, denim-driven youth apparel brand with American iconography (despite being named after a pub in London). The concept was given the go-ahead by former Kellwood Co. chief executive officer and current J.C. Penney Co. Inc. chief operating officer Michael Kramer, who envisioned it becoming a 700- to 800-door chain.
Jill Granoff, who became ceo of Kellwood in May, said Kellwood was taking a new strategic direction with its brand portfolio that involved no longer investing in start-up concepts that have a long-term payback, rather focusing resources on businesses with the greatest growth potential and profitability.
The decision to divest of Lamb & Flag came six months after the company unveiled its first store at the Brea Mall in Brea, Calif. The company opened two subsequent units at The Shops at Mission Viejo and Los Cerritos Center, also in California. A spokesman for Hilco Streambank said Kellwood “didn’t [have time] to market or focus on marketing Lamb & Flag,” so Hilco was hired for its expertise. He declined to give the asking price, but said Hilco is open to and entertaining all offers.
Selling a fully developed brand with a retail concept, three stores and a Web site isn’t something that comes along often, the spokesman said. “This is a unique situation,” he explained. “A lot went into creating it. [Kellwood] felt this would take attention away from other brands” such as Vince, Rebecca Tayor, David Meister and Sag Harbor.
“It would be an interesting house brand [for a retailer such as Wal-Mart or Kohl’s],” the spokesman said. “Or, it could work with an existing retailer that wants to open another concept aimed at a different customer. It’s a brand that resonates and has a unique position.”