Gieves & Hawkes, Kent & Curwen and Cerruti at risk as owner goes under
Trinity Limited, the owner of Gieves & Hawkes, has been placed into liquidation following a failed attempt by advisory firm RSM to sell the 250-year-old luxury British brand. The Chinese company also owns the Kent & Curwen and Cerruti labels and all three brands face an uncertain future. The firm has appointed FTI Consulting and R&H Services as joint liquidators.
Gieves & Hawkes, which has a Savile Row store as well as others in Britain, was acquired by Trinity 10 years ago. Trinity is part of the Shandong Ruyi empire built up by founder and chairman Qui Yafu as the firm targeted the creation of a luxury group to rival the big names of European high-end fashion. Shandong Ruyi also owns France’s SMCP.
The news of the liquidation was reported by The Times, which said neither Trinity nor FTI have replied to requests for comment.
It also said Trinity is believed to owe millions to David Beckham after the deal to licence his name and image for the Kent & Curwen brand was ended early. Kent & Curwen has ceased trading in the UK but it’s unclear whether its Chinese operations are still active.
Meanwhile, a notice on Cerruti’s website simply says “our e-com site is evolving. More news soon”.
The news about Trinity and its brands comes as no surprise after numerous reports pre-Christmas that it was on the verge of collapse. It has actually been working to prevent that for two years, via an appeal against a winding-up order in courts in Bermuda and Hong Kong.
But given the precarious backdrop of the pandemic, its finances haven’t improved.
The big question now is: what happens to the brands? While buyers could still be found, it seems unlikely that they would take on the store estates and workforces in their current forms.
The newspaper said M&S “remains interested in” buying the Gieves & Hawkes brand name. It was widely reported last year that it would like to buy the label following its acquisition of upscale brand Jaeger as part of its owned and third-party brands strategy. But the newspaper also said the complex ownership structure of Trinity Limited “has frustrated any traditional sale process”.
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