Gordon Brothers, a global investment and consulting company based in Boston, USA today announced the acquisition of the Bench brand and all its related intellectual property assets. What prospect the takeover will have for the British street- and sportswear brand that was founded in Manchester, UK in 1989 and had its heydays in the ’90s is still to be seen.
In today’s press release Ramez Toubassy, president of Gordon Brothers' brands division, stated quite vaguely: “Streetwear has never been hotter than it is today. We are excited to be able to acquire an authentic pioneer in the category and bring our thoroughly modern branding, marketing and business model to bear in reestablishing Bench as a streetwear powerhouse.“
More specifically, Gordon Brothers comments that it wants to “focus on reestablishing the brand's European e-commerce presence while it methodically re-builds the business' wholesale footprint in that territory.” For the North American business, Gordon Brothers will “continue the brand's long-standing partnership with FreemarkApparel Brands Group.”
The takeover follows recent news when Bench Limited, which holds the trademark rights to the streetwear brand Bench, filed an application for the opening of insolvency proceedings with the relevant authorities in the UK. The insolvency of Bench Limited also affected the German service companies of Bench based in Munich.
As SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL wrote earlier, reasons for this step include a longstanding difficult retail market in the UK and a major logistics problem in 2016. According to Gordon Brothers, as of 2017, Bench’s presence included more than 80 monobrand stores in Europe and North America as well as more than 2,000 wholesale points of sale.
The new owner is already familiar with the fashion business: The acquisition of Bench follows its relaunch of the Wet Seal fast fashion retailer as a digitally native e-commerce business and participating in a joint venture for US fashion chain Aéropostale, among others.