Loehmann’s has been resurrected from the retail graveyard.
This story first appeared in the April 8, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Loehmann’s nameplate will go live again online, with a new Web site slated to be up and running in early May, according to Charles Koppelman, founder of brand development and advisory firm CAK Entertainment Inc.
The online store will operate under a new Web address that will be unveiled next month, but will remain focused on “highly discounted brands,” Koppelman said.
After 93 years as a fashion presence in the off-price channel focused on designer apparel and accessories, the retail chain filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition for bankruptcy court protection in December. After a fast-tracked bankruptcy tour — its third time in bankruptcy proceedings, with the first in 1999 and the second in 2010 — the retailer liquidated in February.
The Loehmann’s nameplate and related intellectual property assets, including customer lists, were acquired at a bankruptcy court auction by Esopus Creek Value Series Fund LP, a hedge fund. According to Manhattan bankruptcy court records, the IP assets were acquired for $750,000 and the customer lists for $100,000.
Andrew L. Sole, managing member of Esopus Creek Advisors LLC, the investment adviser to the Esopus fund, said, “This is a longer-term investment for us. We’re looking to build the Loehmann’s brand over time. Esopus has a history of being a long-term investor in many of the purchases that we have made.”
Koppelman was hired by Esopus to work on the branding and revitalization of the Loehmann’s nameplate.
While many of the details of the new site are still under wraps, Koppelman, a marketing and branding expert, plans to take advantage of both social and digital media. He also has experience in the IP realm, having formed CAK Universal Credit Corp. in 1998 using IP assets as a form of financing known as asset-backed securitizations. CAK’s work on the securitization of the Bill Blass trademarks was considered the fashion industry’s first investment-grade asset-backed issue.
According to Koppelman, the site will feature the same brands as before, but will also have a component that skews towards the Millennial consumer, taking advantage of the emerging forms of media as the primary outreach for that market.
“Research tells us the younger customer shops online. They want to have a dialogue with brands about what they want to see and what brands they want.…We are going to talk to them, helping with the product and brand selection. They will tell us what they want and help us with our buying,” Koppelman said.