Wildfox Couture found a parent company.
FAM Brands, a California apparel manufacturer, acquired the ailing women’s contemporary brand in a deal last week. As WWD reported, Wildfox suddenly went up for sale after closing its stores and apparently halting its operations and production of its main collections. The purchase price is thought to be relatively low, with an industry source suggesting $1 million to $5 million. The deal includes all the brand’s intellectual property and FAM is now sole owner, a company spokeswoman confirmed. She also characterized the suggested sale price as “not accurate,” without specifying what price would be.
Wildfox offers a sizable mix of women’s apparel and accessories, from dresses to intimates to sunglasses. Although its main business was wholesale, the company dabbled in retail in recent years and slowly closed all of its stores, including an outlet location. Department stores such as Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s carry a few pieces from the brand, along with some online retailers including Revolve and Shopbop. But retail started going through broad change in the last couple of years, as e-commerce habits cement among consumers. With various department stores going bankrupt, closing stores and trying to restructure their businesses, there has been a ripple effect for brands that rely on wholesale.
Frank Zarabi, founder and chief executive officer of FAM, cited the brand’s “broad range” of items and its position in the women’s contemporary market, saying the brand is “synonymous with California style.” A huge state, women in California dress in a variety of ways, but Wildfox is a lower-priced contemporary brand with a generally casual aesthetic that appeals to a younger demographic.
FAM declined to comment on the brand’s its current revenue figures. But the spokeswoman did note that the company intends to expand the Wildfox’s offerings and wants to grow the business overall. FAM already produces apparel for more than a dozen brands, including Eddie Bauer and Orvis, but mainly in the women’s athletic apparel space.
Until now, Wildfox was operated by Jimmy Sommers since he cofounded the brand more than a decade ago. When WWD spoke with Sommers in 2015, he claimed that the company had grown to $120 million in annual sales since 2007 and was poised to continue growing. In the years since, it seems the brand took a turn for the worse. In an October interview with L.A.’s Flaunt magazine, Sommers alluded briefly to some issues the brand was having, saying he was in the process of “restructuring our offices, tightening up my business,” and that he was interested in finding a “strategic partner” that could grow the business “bigger and bigger.”
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