Tommy Bahama Group sells the island life. The company designs and markets relaxed sportswear and other items under the Tommy Bahama name. Tommy Bahama's Fishbone pants, Cayman Camp shirts, and other clothing are sold through specialty stores, vacation resorts, and more than 100 namesake stores, as well as through about a dozen tropical-themed Tommy Bahama restaurants in the US. Licensees have extended the Tommy Bahama brand to such items as footwear, golf bags, luggage, handbags, eyewear, home furnishings, and rum. Oxford Industries owns Tommy Bahama Group, which was founded in 1992 by marketing director Bob Emfield, designer Lucio Dalla Gasperina, and former president and CEO Tony Margolis.
The apparel company is expanding. It opened its first stores in Asia in 2012. Besides establishing a retail store in Macau (at the Venetian Resort and Casino), and another on Singapore's Orchard Road, a new Tokyo flagship is its crowning jewel. The Ginza district location includes a restaurant, aptly named Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar and Store. The company is also eyeing additional locations in Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 2013 the firm acquired the Tommy Bahama business in Canada from its licensee, Jaytex Group. The purchase included nine Tommy Bahama stores in Canada and a wholesale business.
Tommy Bahama typically targets a worldly, well-traveled man or woman age 35 and older who enjoys adventure and leisure. Its target audience extended to the fairer sex in 2008, when the company added women to the Tommy Bahama lifestyle brand and an e-commerce website.
Tommy Bahama parent, Oxford Industries, has transformed the company from being a domestic apparel manufacturer to designing and making branded apparel that lends itself to licensing opportunities. Oxford's primary focus is to boost its full-price retail store count, increase the visibility of the Tommy Bahama brand, and reach outside North America for growth in lucrative markets.
The company's direct-to-consumer business, which includes retail shops, restaurants, and its e-commerce operation, accounts for 65% of sales. Strategically, Tommy Bahama is concentrating on this revenue-generating side of its business. The retailer's full-price retail locations, which also include shops with Tommy Bahama restaurants, bring in more sales per square foot than its other formats. Sales per square foot, excluding restaurant sales and restaurant space, in 2010 were about $580 per sq. ft. vs. $520 per sq. ft. for stores operating during fiscal 2009. To this end, Tommy Bahama has its eye on opening up to 10 new retail locations each year.
Its wholesale business accounts for the remaining 35% of revenue. As a wholesaler, Tommy Bahama is protective of its brand and retains relationships with leading upscale department stores to ensure it's able to maintain brand integrity. Its strategy is to control distribution of Tommy Bahama products. One way it achieves this is to limit distribution of products outside US borders. Indeed, 10% of Tommy Bahama's sales were to Nordstrom, its largest customer.
Since being acquired, Tommy Bahama has contributed more revenue each year to its parent's bottom line. Since 2006, when the retailer accounted for 37% of Oxford's sales, Tommy Bahama has grown to become the largest, most successful part of Oxford's business, bringing in 66% of its parents revenue. Despite a recession, Tommy Bahama has achieved this by inking several licensing deals with other manufacturers, in its effort to extend its reach into other niches and broadcast its brand worldwide. Through a deal with Lexington Home Brands, Tommy Bahama boasts high-end tropical-themed home furnishings. Its licensing agreement with Accessory Design Holdings brought a collection of handbags and small leather goods. The firm had been making swimsuits through an agreement with Apparel Ventures, but when the licensing deal expired in mid-2005, Tommy Bahama brought its swimwear operations in-house and hired the former president and CEO of Apparel Ventures. And with Tommy Bahama's tropical theme has come even a branded libation. In partnership with liquor importer Sidney Frank Importing Co., Tommy Bahama Rum made its way from Barbados to liquor cabinets in the US.
The company boasts a buying office in Hong Kong from which it manages the production and sourcing efforts for practically all Tommy Bahama-branded products. The apparel firm keeps costs in check by enlisting the help of some 150 suppliers, mostly based in China, to make its products to-order.
Industry veteran Terry Pillow heads up the company. Pillow has logged 30 years of experience at such firms as Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren, A/X Armani Exchange, and Coach.