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What Contemporary Retailer Is Prepping for a Sale?

Vince Holding Corp. last week made good on its promise in September to shut down and jettison contemporary label Rebecca Taylor, but the move to streamline operations might have been a pre-cursor to a sale of the whole company.

Fashion firms haven’t been at the top of consumers’ minds lately. That’s largely due to inflation’s impact on spending that has them focusing on necessities and pulling back on discretionary items, such as apparel. Ongoing losses often result in fashion companies undertaking a review of strategic options.

In the third quarter, the contemporary brand Vince reported a net loss of $5.2 million on a 12.7 percent gain in net sales to $98.6 million. That’s compared with net income of $2.2 million on a 14.4 percent gain in net sales to $87.5 million in the same year-ago quarter. Year-ago sales include a 2.2 percent decline in the Rebecca Taylor and Parker, labels that Vince acquired in November 2019 for $19.7 million from its 70 percent majority stakeholder, Sun Capital Partners. At the time, the acquisitions were aimed at driving growth at Vince, as well as creating back-office synergies across the three brands. The labels each were targeting different price points in the contemporary space.

A Bloomberg report earlier this month said Vince was exploring its options, including a sale of the company. There was no word on a possible timeline for the completion of the strategic review, and the report said that Vince could still decide against a sale.

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A spokesman for both Sun Capital and Vince could not be reached for comment by press time.

Vince said last week that it sold the Rebecca Taylor intellectual property and certain related assets to RT IPCO LLC for an undisclosed amount.

Vince CEO Jack Schwefel said in September when the label’s wind-down was disclosed that the closure would allow Vince to focus on its core businesses.

Sun Capital acquired apparel and textiles giant Kellwood Co. in February 2008 in a deal valued at $762 million. Vince was already under Kellwood’s umbrella, which it bought in 2006. Kellwood subsequently acquired Rebecca Taylor in January 2011, and Parker in July 2014. Vince was spun off by Sun Capital in November 2013 via an initial public offering that raised $200 million.

Rebecca Taylor the designer left her namesake brand in August 2019. Parker is believed to still be under Vince’s ownership, although the line has “temporarily” ceased operations, according to the Parker New York website.