Orchard Brands is a regular garden grove of catalogs and e-commerce sites. The direct-to-consumer retailer owns a portfolio of more than 15 brands that target the 55+ senior demographic. Its titles offer apparel, accessories, and shoes, as well as home and garden and health products. With its acquisition of Linen Source and Crosstown Traders, Orchard Brands now reports more than $1.1 billion in revenue through its catalogs, e-commerce sites, and Appleseed's retail stores in New England and Draper's & Damon's in half a dozen states. Owned by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, Orchard Brands filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011 amid declining sales and emerged three months later.
The senior-focused direct marketer filed for Chapter 11 following an unsuccessful attempt by Golden Gate Capital (GGC) to sell the businesss in 2010. The bankruptcy filing followed a pre-negotiated deal with its lenders that cut Orchard Brands' debt by more than $420 million to approximately $310 million. (A deal reached with key creditors allowed Orchard Brands to emerge from Chapter 11 and put senior lenders in control of the company.) The firm had won court approval for about $140 million in debtor-in-possession financing to continue its business while it reorganizes. CEO Neale Attenborough said the company's substantial debt burden had hurt Orchard Brands' ability to compete.
After amassing some 17 titles under the Orchard Brands umbrella, parent GGC put the multi-title catalog operator on the market. The combination of company's heavy debt and the weak retail climate for sellers focused on the mature women's apparel market apparently spoiled GGC's appetite for the business. Also, with limited potential for future acquisitions in the 55+ demographic, GGC may be looking for more profitable places to invest.
Adding to its list of retailers that appeal to older folks, Orchard Brands acquired Linen Source in 2010. Linen Source offers premium linens and other home décor goods. The $35-million purchase of Crosstown Traders added the Old Pueblo Traders, Bedford Fair, Willow Ridge, Lew Magram, Brownstone Studio, Intimate Appeal, Monterey Bay Clothing Company, and Coward Shoes misses apparel brands to Orchard Brands' portfolio. The company cited Crosstown Traders niche with older consumers as the reason for its purchase.
Prior to the Crosstown Traders purchase, Orchard Brands already had 22.5 million names in its database of Baby Boomer consumers. The company began in 2005 when Appleseed's bought out The Tog Shop, then Appleseed's and Draper's & Damon's were both bought by Golden Gate Capital on the same day. Orchard Brands was formed to acquire more catalog-based retailers. In addition to Crosstown Traders' eight titles the company's portfolio includes: Appleseed's, Blair, Draper's and Damon's, Gold Violin, Haband, Norm Thompson Outfitters, Sahalie, Solutions, The Tog Shop, and WinterSilks.
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