The Joseph Abboud brand is making the jump to China.
WHP Global, the brand management firm that purchased the menswear brand in early 2020 for $115 million, has signed a long-term licensing deal with YouXiang, a Chinese luxury fashion retail group, to market and distribute the Abboud label in that country.
The deal includes e-commerce, freestanding retail stores, in-store shops and wholesale/franchising starting in spring 2023. It will include all men’s apparel, accessories, footwear, bags and luggage.
“We are looking forward to partnering with YouXiang as we focus on the expansion of Joseph Abboud’s reach through both international and digital channels,” said Stanley Silverstein, chief commercial officer of WHP Global. “YouXiang has successfully brought some of the best-known high-end fashion brands to China, making them the perfect partner to help us reach millions of consumers in one of the world’s fastest growing fashion markets.”
YouXiang, which was founded in 2008, operates retail stores under the Via Dante, U D X and Aquascutum names and is also the authorized distributor in China for brands including Armani, Michael Kors, Moncler, Theory, Tod’s, Versace and YSL, which combined generate over $750 million in annual sales.
“We are excited about this partnership as Joseph Abboud is a globally celebrated men’s fashion brand with tremendous opportunity in China,” said Jack Lee, founder of YouXiang. “We intend on fully leveraging our authority in bringing premium fashion brands into the Greater China market as well as our growing retail footprint to build a strong business together with WHP Global.”
Yehuda Shmidman, chief executive officer of WHP Global, said that because of China’s continued restrictions around COVID-19, “it’s impossible to travel there today. But we were still able to put together this partnership with YouXiang. They love the Joseph Abboud brand and believe it will be an anchor for them in the men’s market.”
Although the number of stores YouXiang will open is still undetermined, Shmidman said he is projecting the deal to bring in generate some $50 million in sales after the build-out is complete.
He said WHP Global’s eight “power brands” — Anne Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, Joe’s Jeans, William Rast, Lotto, Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us in addition to Abboud — has grown into a $4.5 billion company with holdings in hard goods and sports in addition to fashion. Of that figure, he said $2 billion in sales come from outside the U.S.
“Our mission is to rescue amazing brands that are not being fully maximized,” he said. “That was true with Joseph Abboud.”
The label had previously been owned by Tailored Brands, parent of Men’s Wearhouse. Although the trademark was sold to WHP, the retailer continues to own and operate the factory that produces the Abboud brand in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which Shmidman said has proven to be “the greatest advantage with all the supply chain issues.”
Shmidman said that although his firm closed on the Abboud purchase a few days before the COVID-19 shutdowns, the brand has rebounded nicely since stores were able to reopen.
“It’s doing exceptionally well at Men’s Wearhouse,” he said of the retailer that has an exclusive to sell and rent Abboud-branded apparel in the U.S. and Canada. He said the brand is also performing well in Japan, which it has had a presence since 1995, and he expects to finalize a deal for Latin America in the near future.
Since purchasing the brand, WHP has also inked licensing deals for underwear, socks, eyewear and watches and it is exploring other classification expansions.
The Joseph Abboud label was founded in 1987 by the designer of the same name who is no longer associated with the brand.