Tharanco Acquires Joseph A.

The Tharanco Group has added better knitwear manufacturer Joseph A. to its portfolio.

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The Tharanco Group has added better knitwear manufacturer Joseph A. to its portfolio.

This story first appeared in the February 1, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Haresh Tharani, chairman of Tharanco, a privately held company, bought the $150 million knitwear firm for an undisclosed sum and plans to make it into an international lifestyle brand.

Like Tharanco’s other brands, which range from junior knit line Takeout to Doo.Ri, Joseph A. will continue to be run as a stand-alone company with founder Elan Eliau as chief executive officer. Tharani called Eliau “my partner,” and all of Joseph A.’s staff is staying on at the brand’s headquarters at 1410 Broadway in New York.

The big difference comes in the back office support, including production, which Tharanco will provide the company. The brand will go global, beginning with holiday 2008 and, for the first year, Tharani projects international sales will be 10 to 15 percent of Joseph A. volume. Special sizes will be another area for growth.

“We do a considerable sweater business, and we have tremendous synergies and can offer back-end and global support,” Tharani said. “Joseph A. is a great brand, but only in the sweater category. We will build on its great customer awareness.”

In the next few weeks, Tharani and Eliau will present a full plan for the company, which will include a timeline for expansion into other product categories. The company has already hired a new design director, Garfield and Marks veteran Peter Kye, who will replace Eliau’s mother, Edith Eliau.

The brand will maintain its better positioning, wholesaling from $14 to $50 at stores, including Macy’s. It will also continue with the TV commercials it has run for the past five years.

“With the Joseph A. brand recognition and customer loyalty, paired with his back-end support, we will be able to put Joseph A. in the best position possible,” Eliau said. “That was my pure motivation.”