California business auctioneer and liquidator Brian Testo Associates is handling an auction scheduled for the first week of February that includes all of the brand’s assets, including intellectual property like it’s name and website.
In a statement on the auction, Testo wrote that the vintage-inspired brand is sold in 30 countries and at retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. Wildfox expanded from a line of vintage-inspired T-shirts to hundreds of styles of apparel and accessories and also grew into swim and athleisure. When WWD spoke with Sommers in 2015, he claimed that the company had grown to $120 million in sales and was poised to continue growing. However, in the years since, it seems the brand took a turn for the worse.
Despite deciding to go with a public auction, there is no record of a bankruptcy filing in California, where the company is headquartered. So it’s possible the company could be sold as a going-concern and not liquidated.
Representatives of the brand — at headquarters, stores and showrooms — could not be immediately reached for comment, nor could Testo. The brand had several stores at one point and an outlet location. It has closed all but one, its flagship in West Hollywood. There was no answer at the store and a voicemail box was full. It’s last full collection looks to be resort 2019, but it is currently pushing Valentine’s Day-themed products and its Instagram is still operational. Customer service on the other hand, is not.
Nevertheless, in promoting the auction, Testo urged potential interested buyers to bid, saying “this is a business opportunity that should not be missed.”
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.” That seems to have not come to pass.
Traditional retail, core to Wildfox’s business, has been going through broad change in the last couple if years, as e-commerce habits cement among consumers. With companies like Hudson’s Bay, operator of Saks and, Neiman Marcus restructuring and everyone from Lord & Taylor to Macy’s closing stores, there is a ripple effect for brands that rely on wholesale.
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