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PEI to Retain Tricots, Axis Dept. Store Presence

Exit of brands from specialty stores won't extend to other channel.

NEW YORK — Perry Ellis International Inc. will continue to sell its Tricots St. Raphael and Axis men’s sportswear brands in department stores, while it shutters those brands within the men’s specialty store channel.

This story first appeared in the March 23, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

PEI sought to clarify its plans Friday following disclosure of its intentions during a fourth-quarter earnings conference call on Thursday.

The Tricots St. Raphael and Axis brands are currently sold in about 300 better department store doors, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Von Maur. According to Oscar Feldenkreis, president and chief operating officer of PEI, the department store business is profitable for those two brands. “We remain fully committed to the future of these brands for the foreseeable future within the channels that we are profitable,” he said.

Tricots St. Raphael and Axis had ceased to be profitable in the specialty store channel, as independent stores battled severe credit issues, prompting the decision to exit that business. Total sales for the two brands had slid to $12 million from $20 million over the past few years.

About 200 independent store accounts will be affected by the exit of the brands from the specialty store business beginning with the fall season, according to PEI. Feldenkreis declined to give an estimated sales figure for the two brands in their remaining department store distribution.

As reported, PEI is also exiting its licensed Dockers outerwear business, and combined with the Tricots St. Raphael and Axis exits from specialty stores, the company expects annual cost savings of $7 million to $8 million beginning in fiscal 2010.

PEI initiated a review of its men’s specialty store businesses, real estate, retail operations, distribution and shared services in November after laying out $5 million to $6 million in expected selling, general and administrative cost cuts for the current fiscal year.