Today’s Fashion Headlines: January 2, 2013

Burches call a truce,

Burches call a truce, Rag &Bone snags a new investor and 2012 retail sales were better than expected

Burches Call a Ceasefire

Tory Burch and her ex-husband Christopher Burch settled their contentious lawsuit over the sale of his stake in Tory Burch LLC with the addition of two new minority investors. Although the terms of deal are confidential, investment firms BDT Capital Partners LLC and General Atlantic LLC made minority investments in the brand. Both Burches owned a 28.3 percent stake in the company, which the duo created in 2003. Chris Burch retains a stake in Tory Burch, although a spokesman for the entrepreneur declined to reveal how much he still owns.

“They are completely aligned with our long-term approach to building our brand and share our vision for growth globally,” chief executive officer Tory Burch said of the new minority investors.

Rag & Bone Gets New Investor

Rag & Bone designers David Neville and Marcus Wainwright have found a new investor in John Howard’s Irving Place Capital. The private equity firm, which Howard heads as chief executive officer, took a minority stake in the quickly growing New York-based brand. Neville, Wainwright, Andrew Rosen and Irving Place now each own roughly a quarter of the business.

“This company is a rocket ship and the people who run it are unbelievably talented,” Howard told WWD Tuesday. “I love the brand. I understand its point of view. There’s a special sensibility and aesthetic and mentality to the brand. It’s a little bit unanticipated and fun, yet elegant. Every button and every lining, it’s thought about. The job as the company gets large is to maintain the same kind of vigilance and sense of humor.”

2012 Sales Did Better Than Expected

Forget the sluggish holiday season, global economic malaise and the drawn-out debate over the fiscal cliff — 2012 was a big year for retail on Wall Street. The S&P 500 Retailing Industry Group was up 21.3 percent for the year to 639.52. That’s well ahead of the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s 5.9 percent gain and an indication that, while it’s been a bumpy road lately, retailers have been doing something right. A large portion of the sector’s gains came in the first three months of the year, when retailers advanced 19 percent.

“If the retailers were not doing well, the stocks would not have reacted this way,” said Christine Chen, senior investment analyst for the global consumer sector at Ashfield Capital Partners. “The consumer just feels better. And there were things to buy; colored denim drove a lot of business for a lot of companies.” Even though holiday season headlines were about soft sales and Washington’s efforts to avoid the fiscal cliff tax hikes and spending cuts, Chen noted that unemployment is slowly dropping and the housing market is improving. Until recently, consumer confidence has also risen, although it fell by six points in December. Despite that decline, Chen said, “Consumers just feel more confident today that they’re going to have a job tomorrow.”

- Taneisha Jordan

Sources & Photo: WWD

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