Known for its classic styling, Brooks Brothers has been outfitting men for nearly two centuries. Brooks Brothers is one of America's oldest retailers, specializing in men's suits and outerwear. (Abe Lincoln was wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and overcoat when he was assassinated.) Today, the company also sells women's and children's apparel. Brooks Brothers operates about 180 upscale retail stores and outlets nationwide. Through partnerships, the longtime clothier boasts 100-plus stores in about 15 countries, including Chile, China, Italy, and Japan, among others. Brooks Brothers is owned by Retail Brand Alliance (RBA) and led by its colorful CEO the Italian billionaire Claudio Del Vecchio.
RBA acquired Brooks Brothers from UK department stores operator Marks and Spencer for $225 million in 2001.
Based in Utah, Brooks Brothers sells its apparel and accessories worldwide across the US, the UK, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Mexico, Malaysia, Japan, Italy, Ireland, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Greece, France, China, Chile, Canada, Bahrain, and Puerto Rico.
Sales and Marketing
At times, Brooks Brothers can dig deep into its wallet to fund advertising campaigns. Several years ago the company created an exclusive collection of men's and women's ready-to-wear apparel and accessories under the Black Fleece label. To support the collection, aimed at a younger crowd of shoppers, Brooks Brothers waged the biggest print-ad campaign in its history, spending a reported $7 million.
The company looks to attract a younger customer and enter new markets as its affluent clientele has been stung by the withering world financial markets.
In a bid to grow sales, the apparel chain has been experimenting with new store formats. Brooks Brothers opened its first "boutique," a 4,000-sq.-ft. store in Manhattan's Rockefeller Center, in 2009. At half the size of a traditional Brooks Brothers shop, the boutique has served as a template for small stores in urban areas throughout the US. The company is also using the boutique store as a laboratory to fine-tune its merchandise selection. Other new formats include the debut of Brooks Brothers' first in-store shop in the women's department of London's famed Harrods department store in 2009. (Women's apparel and accessories accounts for nearly a fifth of the retailer's sales.)
The manufacturer and retailer also partners with others to expand its products portfolio. Brooks Brothers teams with jeans icon Levi Strauss to market a denim collection in its stores and online. To extend its reach into other product categories, Brooks Brothers partnered with Inter Parfums to make personal care products for sale targeting men and women at Brooks Brothers. Inter Parfums has inked similar agreements with The Gap and New York & Company.
With Wall Street far from its heyday, Brooks Brothers has taken its American style on a world tour, as well. The iconic American retailer opened its first stores north of the US-Canada border in 2009 with shops in Toronto and Vancouver. A third Canadian location opened in Calgary in 2010. The chain focused on English-speaking Canada before moving on to Quebec. Farther afield, Asia is another important market for the company, which operates about 35 shops in China and Hong Kong. Newer markets include the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. In Europe, Brooks Brothers has stores in France, Greece, Italy, and the UK.