WWD.com/globe-news/specialty-stores/fortunoffs-eye-the-market-2230948/
government-trade
government-trade

Fortunoffs Eye the Market

Fortunoff family plans to launch an information-only Web site this month while considering reentering the marketplace.

Sisters Ruth and Esther Fortunoff were back in the market, shopping jewelry at the JA NY Summer show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center last weekend, raising possibilities of relaunching the Fortunoff Web site or other ventures.

This story first appeared in the August 6, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

“They went to the show. They go every year. There is really no new news,” said David Fortunoff, president of Fortunoff Brands LLC and grandson of Max and Clara Fortunoff, who founded the chain.

“We’re just trying to talk to vendors, see what the attitude is, and see who is interested in doing something,” Fortunoff said. “There is no imminent plan to launch the Web site. It’s a possibility.” He also said stores are not beyond the realm of possibility, and there has been speculation about former Fortunoff executives relaunching outdoor furniture stores through a licensing arrangement.

Fortunoff did say that an information-only Web site will be launched within a week or two “to really educate” people that the Fortunoff family is back in control and to invite potential licensing deals or other kinds of business partners.

“We are interested in hearing ideas [though] we have plenty of our own. We are in the early stages of formulating a strategy about reentering the marketplace. We are thinking about all possibilities. We don’t have one clear path,” Fortunoff said.

Considering current business conditions, the family would proceed cautiously with any plans, he said. The Fortunoff home furnishings and jewelry chain went bankrupt twice in the last few years and was liquidated last winter by owner NRDC Equity Partners. Last July, the Fortunoff and Mayrock families, who owned and operated Fortunoff for four generations, purchased back all the intellectual property, including the Fortunoff brand name, trademarks, customer lists, software, domain names and copyrighted material, for $1.8 million.