Grano Retail Holdings has added another brand to its stable of high-end men’s wear labels.
Through its Luxury Men’s Apparel Group subsidiary, the company has acquired a majority interest in Culturata, a Canadian sportswear company. The price was not disclosed. LMAG also operates Samuelsohn and Hickey Freeman tailored clothing and H by Hickey Freeman, a younger-skewed line.
“Culturata’s brand story fits seamlessly into the overarching narrative of craftsmanship, luxury and style that define our brands,” said Stephen Granovsky, chief executive officer of LMAG and Grano. “We believe Culturata has the potential to grow into multiple categories and distribution channels.”
Culturata is based in Toronto and was founded in 2008 by Jacques Haggiag and Nadine Price. It offers sport shirts, sweaters and knitwear and is sold at retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Trunk Club. Under the terms of the deal, Haggiag and Price will retain a minority interest in the company and Haggiag will serve as president of Culturata and senior vice president of sportswear merchandising for LMAG. In that role, he will work closely with Arnold Brant Silverstone, president and chief creative officer of LMAG, who has redefined the Hickey Freeman tailored clothing label since it was brought into the Grano family two years ago.
“Culturata is in the sportswear business, but we believe it has the reach to expand into furnishings as well,” Granovsky said. He added that the label was a very successful stand-alone business but was “modest in size. At one point, if you want to grow, you have to move from an entrepreneurial model to a more professional one and they were anxious to find a buyer or investor who would do that. And we’ve been searching for sportswear and furnishings alternatives for Samuelsohn and Hickey. It’s very hard for a tailored clothing company to expand into sportswear organically.”
Authentic Brands Group owns the trademark for Hickey Freeman. In 2013, Grano bought all the tangible assets of the brand, including its factory in Rochester, N.Y., and signed a 40-year license with ABG to produce the tailored clothing. Its furnishings and sportswear were licensed to other companies.
However, Granovsky said he’s “trying to address the situation and bring every Hickey Freeman under one roof. With this deal, we think we will get there.”
Silverstone said Culturata “aligns well with our business.” The brands sell similar stores and the labels all offer luxury men’s wear. And by utilizing LMAG’s infrastructure and sales force, he believes, Culturata can expand its reach and add other categories such as furnishings.
“Jacques Haggiag is a significant talent and Culturata’s artisanal Italian design resonates strongly with consumers,” Silverstone said, adding that Haggiag is Italian but moved to Canada. “He will lead not only the growth of Culturata, but also the expansion of Samuelsohn and Hickey Freeman into sportswear and furnishings.”
This represents Grano’s first acquisition in the men’s sportswear category. Granovsky said he’s in talks with a couple of other brands about possible purchases and “would like to do something by the end of the year. We have a lot of appetite for other acquisitions.”