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Exclusive: Chester Barrie owner closes branded business

Menswear supplier Prominent Europe is to close its branded business as part of a change in strategy by Japanese owner Itochu Corporation, Drapers can reveal. 

Prominent Europe owns menswear brand Chester Barrie and currently operates the licensing businesses for tailoring brands Simon Carter and Richard James Mayfair.

Chester Barrie’s Savile Row store and website will close. All three brands’ House of Fraser concessions will close by mid-January. Around 30 staff will be affected. 

Drapers previously revealed that its license with Simon Carter expires in December and will not be renewed. The menswear brand has taken the licence and production back in house for 2020. 

Prominent Europe’s wholesale business remains unaffected. It will continue to wholesale Richard James Mayfair and Chester by Chester Barrie in John Lewis. 

Richard James Mayfair’s licence is understood to expire in 18 to 24 months. 

Prominent Europe was founded in 1993 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Itochu Corporation.

In its is most recent full-year results, to 31 March 2018, revenue grew by 7% to £136m and gross profit dipped 0.5% to £8.2m. 

The business said it faced “challenging market conditions” and its “margins continued to be impacted in the year by US dollar/sterling exchange rate changes in following the Brexit decision”.

Prominent Europe declined to comment. 

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