Myer has reportedly stepped in to rescue troubled fashion brands Marcs and David Lawrence after the labels’ parent company collapsed into voluntary administration in February.
The department store announced in a statement this morning it has purchased the intellectual property, brand names and existing inventory from the brands’ administrators for an undisclosed sum, after a two-month search for a potential buyer and the closure of a number of Marcs and David Lawrence stores across Australia and New Zealand.
Myer’s chief merchandise and customer officer Daniel Bracken told Fairfax the company stepped in last week when it became obvious no other buyer was emerging for the brands.
“These brands are very very successful brands at Myer, both are considered part of our wanted brands strategy and both are highly productive (with high sales per square metre),” he said. Myer is continuing to change is merchandise mix as it executes chief executive Richard Umbers’ plan to move to a more concession-oriented fashion model including more mid and high end brands.
At the time of the brands’ collapse in February, the sole director of the companies that owned the Marcs and David Lawrence, Malcolm Webster, told administrators “deteriorating sales conditions” and poor cashflow had caused issues for the fashion labels.
Retail experts told SmartCompany at the time both labels had struggled with the entrance of global fast fashion retailers like Zara and Uniqlo into the Australian market, and were perhaps too cautious about scaring off their traditional client bases when the time came to pivot towards new shoppers.
“A lot of businesses I think freak out [in this climate]…There’s a lot of brands that have not been able to work out where they belong,” retail strategist at RetailOasis Pippa Kulmar said in February.
Prior to the appointment of administrators, there were 52 standalone Marcs and David Lawrence stores operating across Australia and New Zealand, as well as a number of concession stands within Myer and David Jones. Administrators started closing stores in mid-February in preparation for a potential sale, and by March, administrators Rodgers Reidy had announced the New Zealand operations would close by the end of April.
Fairfax reports the deal does not include current Marcs and David Lawrence storefronts and leases.