While some are busy keeping up with the Joneses, The Jones Group is too busy taking stock in its own brand portfolio to notice. The company provides a wide range of clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and juniors. Its brands include Anne Klein, Jones New York, Gloria Vanderbilt, Nine West, Evan-Picone, and l.e.i., among some 30 others. Through licensing agreements, Jones also supplies Givenchy jewelry and Rachel Roy designer apparel. It is active in both the retail and wholesale sectors. The Jones Group operates about 850 outlet and specialty stores in the US and abroad, as well as branded e-commerce sites. Jones Group is owned by private equity firm Sycamore Partners.
Change in Company Type
The Jones Group (formerly Jones Apparel Group) was taken private by the New York private equity firm Sycamore Partners for $2.2 billion in April 2014. Sycamore plans to keep the firm’s older labels — Anne Klein and Nine West, et al. — while selling off the more valuable Weitzman and Geiger franchises. Sycamore partners also owns the women's apparel retailer The Talbots and teen chain Hot Topic.
Following the acquisition of UK-based footwear and accessories firm Kurt Geiger in 2011, The Jones Group reorganized to form six business segments: domestic wholesale sportswear (including such brands as Jones New York, Anne Klein, and Rachel Roy); domestic wholesale jeanswear (Energie, Gloria Vanderbilt, l.e.i.); domestic wholesale footwear and accessories (Joan & David, Nine West, Stuart Weitzman, Mootsies Tootsies); domestic retail (store banners include Jones New York, Nine West, Easy Spirit, and ShoeWoo); international wholesale; and international retail (Kurt Geiger, Stuart Weitzman). Domestic wholesale footwear and accessories and domestic wholesale jeanswear are the largest segments, together accounting for about 45% of sales.
Although the US is The Jones Group's largest market (contributing nearly 80% of sales), international revenue is an important part of its business. In 2013 the UK and Canada accounted for nearly 10% and nearly 5% of sales, respectively. Other international markets include France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Monaco, and Spain.
Sales and Marketing
Department stores are the company's largest customer group, accounting for nearly half of sales; Macy's accounted for about 15%.
After four years of declines, The Jones Group had sewn together three consecutive years of increasing sales until 2013, when it reported a slight decline of 1% to just under $3.8 billion (well below the $5 billion mark reached in 2005). The company had mixed results across its six segments, with the overall revenue decline attributable primarily to a 14% drop in the domestic wholesale sportswear category on reduced shipments of Jones New York and Anne Klein products. That drop, as well as a 4% drop in domestic retail, was offset somewhat by increases of 10% and 7%, respectively, from the domestic wholesale jeanswear and international retail segments.
Jones Group had a net loss of nearly $20 million in 2013, significantly better than the $55 million loss the prior year. Net cash provided by operations has been falling in recent years, with 2013 results of $92 million about 18% lower than 2012 because of lower operating income.
The years of increasing sales has come as Jones Group works to improve its fortunes; it has freshened up its mainstay labels, added new ones (including Brian Atwood, Kurt Geiger, and Stuart Weitzman) that are poised for growth, and marketed exclusive collections through select retailers. It has also been right-sizing its retail footprint and taken other steps to cut costs. In 2013 the company closed 108 underperforming domestic locations (after closing 103 the prior year) and expects to close more in 2014.
To boost demand for its offerings, Jones has been inking exclusive brand distribution deals with select retailers. In the past several years it launched the Rachel Roy collection as an exclusive Macy's line and began providing GLO Jeans casualwear exclusively to Kmart. It also provides l.e.i. products exclusively to Wal-Mart. Licensing deals are also key to Jones' business. High-profile licensing agreements include Rachel Roy, Givenchy, and Jessica Simpson brand jeanswear.