Parent company selling Maurices | Duluth News Forum

"Duluth has been our home for 88 years and we look forward to remaining a pillar of this great community for years to come," said Maurices President George Goldfarb in a statement. "Our vision remains the same: we will continue to do what is best for our brand, our culture and our company. We will do it with new owners who will bring us new perspectives, abilities and focus. "

The sale of $ 300 million is expected to be finalized this summer. Goldfarb will remain in office as CEO, while local employment levels should also remain the same.

OpCapita, based in London and founded in 2006, invests in several European companies, not all retailers. It recently sold the German discount clothing giant NKD, which has 1,800 stores, after what OpCapita describes as a "successful turnaround". The investment company will look for a similar scenario at Maurices, its first investment in an American company.

"We believe that there is a real opportunity to increase the profitability of Maurices through practical operational improvement," said CEO Henry Jackson in a statement.

The former Gap brand president and longtime senior at Old Navy, Jeff Kirwan, will be named executive chairman of the board of directors to help boost sluggish sales.

"It is an honor to join Maurices at the closing of the transaction, which is starting this new phase of growth," Kirwan said in a press release.

Kirwan left the company last February. At the time, Art Peck, CEO of Gap Inc., said, "While I am satisfied with the progress made in brand health and product quality, we have not achieved Operational excellence nor accelerated earnings growth that we know possible with the Gap brand.

But retail analyst Gabriella Santaniello told News Tribune that Kirwan's experience should apply to the value-based fashion market that Maurices is competing with.

"Everyone was expecting a turnaround from Gap, but there were other problems out there," said Santaniello, founder of A Line Partners. "Jeff Kirwan had key roles at Old Navy. I would not be surprised if there are changes to bring Maurices into the future. "

E. Maurice Labovitz founded Maurices in 1931 in Duluth and the Labovitz family was sold to the US retail group Brenninkmeyer in 1978. Dressbarn, which later changed its name to Ascena, bought Maurices in 2005.

Today, the retailer focuses on small town markets and competitive prices and employs approximately 360 people locally.

Like many traditional retailers, Maurices has seen its sales stagnate in recent years and the brand has closed stores and removed jobs since Ascena launched its "Change for Growth" business restructuring program. many years.

By the middle of 2017, Maurices had 1,005 branches across the country. At the beginning of February this year, there were 943 stores.

The retailer's footprint will remain under review as Maurices applies a "disciplined approach to managing the store portfolio," according to a spokesperson.

The sale will also maintain Ascena as a minority shareholder and the company will continue to provide services such as supply chain, technical support and other "back office" functions.

"While we are establishing Maurices as an independent, independent company, we welcome Ascena's continued support through their continued participation and the range of services they provide," said OpCapita CEO Jackson.

Ascena, which will keep its other brands such as Dressbarn, LOFT, Ann Taylor and Justice, saw shares skyrocket on Monday's news. President and CEO David Jaffe said last month that Maurices and his value brand, Dressbarn, were operating at "unacceptable levels of profitability".

Santaniello said the sale would give Maurices the opportunity to clear a path without the daily demands of Wall Street.

"Investors are neither very patient nor indulgent. There is always this pressure to ensure immediate profitability, and you can find yourself in an unhealthy situation, "she said. "Now they can plan and be strategic. I think the situation will be much better. "

Goldfarb, who was not available for an interview on Monday, said in a statement that the sale was a "victory, victory, victory … for us, for OpCapita, for Ascena and the big cities we serve. "

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