Retail Detail. Syms is Cleaning Out The (Filene’s) Basement

March 19, 2010 • Shopping

It is rumored that Syms, which bought Filene's Basement out of bankruptcy last
summer for $65 million, has ousted Filene's CEO Mark Shulman, and some apparel suppliers
are not happy with the changes, according to today's NY Post.

Shulman, a veteran of retailers including
AnnTaylor and Brooks Brothers was known Filenes_basement to have butt heads with Syms CEO Marcy Syms, specifically over the two
chains' relationships with clothing vendors claim insiders.

Shulman, who tried to give Filene's Basement a more upscale image, has cultivated a rapport with high-end men's labels like Brioni, Oxxford and Joseph Abboud. He was typically willing to pay more to secure merchandise than Syms, according to executives at several manufacturers.

"We'll get a phone call from a Syms buyer in the morning, offering one price for a lot of inventory, and then Filene's will call in the afternoon, offering more cash for the same goods," said one vendor. The confusion was apparently making a mess.

Competition has become fierce as Web sites like Gilt Groupe are gaining market share partly because they're willing to pay more, sources say. Meanwhile, luxury retailers like Saks, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are increasingly shunting their excess inventory into their own branded outlets.

Source: NY Post

Photo: Bankruptcy Attorneys

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