Menswear industry stakeholders have welcomed the sale of Ben Sherman to New York-based Marquee Brands as a good deal for the brand and its future.
US brand house Oxford Industries, which bought Ben Sherman for £80m in 2004, announced it had sold the brand for £40.8m to Marquee Brands yesterday.
Miles Gray, who was chief executive of Ben Sherman until he retired in 2010, said: “Although Ben Sherman has been losing money for the past few years, the business is in a much better state – the stores look great and the product looks better than ever.
“I’m glad it’s gone to a company that is going to capitalise on the work they have been doing. It needs someone with patience and deep pockets, which I think these guys have. Clearly they are in it for the long haul and they are brand builders; they’re not trying to cheapen the brand.
“I suspect they will continue the store openings and give it the investment it needs but wasn’t available until now.”
Similarly, Darren Hoggett co-owner of Ben Sherman stockist J&B Menswear in Norwich, was cautiously pleased to hear the identity of the new owner, as he didn’t want it to fall into the hands of a discount player.
He said: “This has to be positive news for the heritage brand and its retail partners.
“However, until the new owners make their intentions of how they are going to turn the brand around into a financially viable business, we reserve further comment and await developments with great interest.”
Drapers understands that it is “business as usual” for Ben Sherman and that the new owners will be taking an observational role over the coming months.