'Streetwear powerhouse' plan as turnaround specialist buys Bench brand
Gordon Brothers, a restructuring and investment firm, has acquired the Bench brand and all its related intellectual property assets, two months after the fashion brand filed for administration.
Launched in the UK in 1989, the brand has been struggling for the past three years to stand out in a market that is highly competitive. Currency issues following the devaluation of the British pound and widening losses resulted in the brand falling into administration in May.
Gordon Brothers said it plans to exploit Bench’s heritage as one of the world's first streetwear fashion retailers. With a focus on lifestyle products and clothing inspired by the skate and BMX culture of the late 1980s and early 1990s, Bench was ahead of a trend that has become mainstream in recent years.
"Streetwear has never been hotter than it is today," said Ramez Toubassy, President of Gordon Brothers' brands division. "We are excited to be able to acquire an authentic pioneer in the category and bring our thoroughly modern branding, marketing and business model to bear in re-establishing Bench as a streetwear powerhouse."
In the short-term Gordon Brothers will focus on re-establishing the brand's e-commerce and wholesale presence in Europe, while continuing the longstanding partnership with Freemark Apparel Brands Group in North America.
Until recently, Bench products were sold in over 20 countries in Europe and North America, and the brand had over 80 branded stores plus an additional 2,000+ wholesale points of sale.
Gordon Brothers is a firm with experience in transforming underperforming brands into healthy businesses. It recently relaunched the Wet Seal fast fashion retailer as a digitally native e-commerce business, and has previously invested in Polaroid and Bombay & Co.
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