Brooks Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday as the pandemic continues to hurt businesses.
What We Know:
- Brooks Brothers opened its doors in 1818 and has proudly dressed 40 U.S. presidents. In the 1800s, Brooks Brothers was known as a trailblazer in mens fashion. They were one the first companies to make ready-made suits instead of tailor-made and they invented the button-down polo shirt in 1896. The brand became famous for being the unofficial outfitter of Wall Street and pioneering the office-casual look.
- The company’s struggles worsened over the last few years as workplace attires became more and more casual and rents grew higher. The company has been considering different strategies, including selling the business, for quite some time now.
- The coronavirus pandemic disrupted all of the company’s potential plans and tanked the business. The pandemic has all but eliminated the demand for luxury suits, as many employees would rather dress down while working from home. Brooks Brothers is closing 51 of its 250 North American stores.
- Experts say that clothing demand will stay suppressed for the next couple of years as working from home and social distancing will be the norm. They secured $75 million in financing from the bankruptcy filing, which the company says it will use to sell the business.
- CEO Claudio Del Vecchio bought Brooks Brothers in 2001 from British retailer Marks & Spencer. He helped the brand expand into more casual and youth focused clothes. The company sold over $991 million of products last year, 20% of which were online. It has agreements with retailers like Macy’s and Nordstrom and makes uniforms for United Airlines.
Brooks Brothers joins a long list of retailers that have fallen due to the pandemic. Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, and J.C. Penney all filed for bankruptcy over the last few months.