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Scott James is expanding its footprint.
This story first appeared in the August 30, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The men’s sportswear brand, which is owned by Hampshire Group Ltd., will open a new store in Boston and begin distributing its collection in Canada. The company has also created a boys’ wear line for Bloomingdale’s.
Heath Golden, president and chief executive officer of Hampshire, which purchased the label two years ago, said the moves are all part of the plan to broaden the brand’s distribution and take it international.
The first step is the signing of a three-year licensing agreement with OneAgency, part of The Trimera Group, to distribute Scott James in Canada, beginning with the spring collection. “Their knowledge, extensive network of clients and well-established track record of distributing great brands in this market will be extremely valuable to us,” Golden said. Rosa Costa, president of OneAgency, said Scott James “with its European flair for combining fabric and fit with affordable style…fills a void in our marketplace.”
Golden said there’s a “net spillover effect” into Canada when U.S. brands begin to gain traction. “And we felt the aesthetic, and price-value relationship we offer would be applicable to Canada. We believe there’s a big opportunity for us there.”
He said the company hopes to get the brand positioned in the best specialty stores in that country. In the U.S., it is sold in high-end retailers including Bloomingdale’s, Oak Hall, Taylor Richards & Conger, Kilgore Trout and others. Mr. Sid in Newton, Mass., and Shaia’s in Birmingham, Ala., recently installed in-store shops for the label.
The brand also showed at the last Pitti Uomo men’s show in Florence and will be opening a showroom in Milan this fall, Golden said, adding that, in addition to Europe and Canada, the company is targeting Australia and Mexico for the future.
Closer to home, Golden said the company will open a new Scott James store at 173 Newbury Street in Boston in early September. The 1,187-square-foot store replaces a larger unit on the same block that had been opened by the brand’s designer, Scott James Kuhlman, before company was acquired by Hampshire. “There was no real investment in it,” Golden said. “And it had a month-to-month lease. But by accident, we did really well there, so we decided to open a permanent store.”
He said if the store continues to perform well, the company would consider adding other doors in the future “in a handful of great cities.”
On the wholesale end, Scott James has created a boys’ collection exclusively for Bloomingdale’s. It is being sold alongside John Varvatos and Hugo Boss in a newly installed area within the 59th Street flagship, as well as in Short Hills, N.J., Aventura, Fla., and Sherman Oaks, Calif. The line includes knits, bottoms, sweaters and outerwear.
“We found out Scott James can look great scaled down,” Golden said.
Earlier this month, Hampshire reported a net loss for the second quarter of $3.8 million, or 51 cents a diluted share, versus net income of $3.1 million, or 55 cents, for the year-ago period. Sales more than quintupled to $18.1 million from $3.5 million.
Golden said Scott James is “still the smallest thing we do as a corporation, but has a higher gross margin [than our other businesses] and is a critical part of our corporate strategy.”