Despite some early interest from Compagnie Financière Richemont and others, the Robert Talbott brand has not yet found a new owner.
As reported, the 71-year-old brand, best known for its luxury neckwear and dress shirts, was put up for sale by Hilco Streambank last month. Offers were due in early April for the trademark, domain name and select inventory, and an auction was slated for later in the month.
Hilco declined to provide further details this week and did not respond to requests for clarity on what happened at the auction, scheduled for April 13.
However, according to a source close to the brand, the Robert Talbott brand is carrying a lot of debt and any purchaser would have had to assume that debt. As a result, a deal could not be struck.
“It was fraught with legal issues,” said the source. “It’s going to go to the court now and will be a long process.”
The Robert Talbott brand, which has been owned by Relevant Brands Holdings since 2018, was founded after Robert and Audrey Talbott and their son, Robb, left the East Coast in 1950 and moved to Carmel, Calif., where they started a business based on Audrey Talbott’s skill making handcrafted silk neckwear. The company expanded into men’s furnishings, knitwear, sportswear, leathers and women’s wear. It also offers a made-to-measure tailored clothing program. Robert Talbott died in 1986 and Audrey ran the business until her death, when it was passed to Robb Talbott. However, Robb Talbott is a winemaker rather than an apparel operator and came close to selling the brand a number of times before quietly cutting a deal with Relevant.
According to Hilco, the brand had sales of $9.1 million in 2018, with men’s shirts accounting for 36 percent of sales, neckwear 27 percent, and tailored clothing 7 percent. Its business is split 51 percent wholesale and 49 percent retail and the brand is carried at Nordstrom as well as a variety of independent specialty stores.