No longer all buttoned up, Oxford has embraced the island life. It's a top US maker of brand name and private-label clothing, including golf attire, as well as a retailer in the US and UK. Its Tommy Bahama unit makes branded men's and women's casual attire and owns about 90 stores and restaurants in the US. Its Ben Sherman business has stores in the US, UK, and Germany. Oxford's newest lifestyle brand is colorful Lilly Pulitzer. The firm also produces designer men's clothing under license from Dockers, Geoffrey Beene, and Kenneth Cole. Its customers include national and regional specialty stores, direct retailers, and department stores. Macy's, Nordstrom, and Debenhams are some of Oxford's biggest customers.
Oxford's fiscal 2011 (ends January) sales fell by nearly 25% as a result of its divestment of its Oxford Apparel unit. Adjusting for the sale of Oxford Apparel net sales from the company's other operations (including newly-acquired Lilly Pulitzer) increased by about 3%. Tommy Bahama saw sales grow by nearly 10%, while Ben Sherman and Lanier Clothes logged sales declines of 15% and 9%, respectively.
To better focus on its lifestyle brands, such as Tommy Bahama and Ben Sherman, the company sold its Oxford Apparel to LF USA in January 2011. (The sale did not include the Oxford Golf apparel business.) Since buying Tommy Bahama, Oxford Industries has been focused on transforming its business to rely less on the competitive private-label trade in offshore markets and to concentrate more on its "lifestyle" brands, which lend themselves to licensing opportunities. Moving to a lifestyle model has allowed Oxford to extend its reach into new niches -- including Tommy Bahama restaurants adjacent to the retail stores -- and partner with successful manufacturers outside its typical industries who are looking to affix themselves to a recognizable name to grow their own businesses. To this end, Oxford added a third lifestyle brand to its portfolio in late 2010 by acquiring Sugartown Worldwide, known for its Lilly Pulitzer shift dresses. The company purchased the maker of the upscale Palm Beach-style resortwear for $60 million and retained former co-owner Scott Beaumont to run its Lilly Pulitzer Group business. The move also significantly boosts Oxford's retail holdings, as the Sugartown Worldwide purchase included 16 company-owned retail stores, several stores operated by third parties under license, and an e-commerce website. Oxford also is expanding by opening additional retail locations in the US and England for its lifestyle brands.
In past years, the company also has worked to stay in front of its customers and ahead of a global economic downturn. To avoid an increase in markdowns, Oxford Industries has been focused on tightening up its inventory control system. The company launched a Tommy Bahama website. Abroad, Oxford Industries has been banking on its London-based Ben Sherman name in the UK by repositioning it as a premium brand. In fiscal 2011, the firm generated some 53% of its Ben Sherman sales in the UK, 29% in the US, and another 18% primarily in Europe.
The founding Lanier family owns about 13% of the company.
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