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Van Heusen expected to exit UK market

Van Heusen, the classic shirt brand owned by US giant Phillips-Van Heusen (PVH), is expected to pull out of the UK market as a result of making “substantial” losses.

In a letter sent to stockists and seen by Drapers, PVH said it had failed to deliver “the brand objectives or financial results” it had expected in the UK.

PVH said it could close UK operations for Van Heusen, which include an undisclosed number of indie stockists and House of Fraser concessions. The brand, which is thought to have operated in the UK for more than 20 years, warned of potential redundancies. A PVH spokeswoman said orders already made would be delivered.

PVH president of dress furnishings Marc Schneider and managing director John Miln said in the letter: “We cannot continue to sustain this level of unprofitability in the UK.”

Menswear specialists attributed Van Heusen’s UK performance to a failure to revamp its image.

Kevin Stone, marketing director of brand house The Baird Group, said: “It’s a brand rich in history which has lost its way. It didn’t reinvent itself, it got old with its customers.”

Simon Raper, buying controller at indie department store Barkers in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, said the brand had been performing well but that formalwear was a tough market.

PVH, the $2.4bn (£1.58bn) business which also operates the Calvin Klein and Arrow brands in the UK and bought Tommy Hilfiger for ¤2.2bn (£1.8bn) earlier this year, reported that for 2009 Van Heusen notched up sales of $751.7m (£497.4m). 22% of those sales were generated outside the US.

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