Brooks Brothers, Oroton in joint venture

16 Sep 2013

Brooks Brothers has formed a joint venture with Australian luxury consumer goods company OrotonGroup to develop the iconic American clothing retailer’s brand in Australia and New Zealand.

OrotonGroup, which had exclusive rights to the Ralph Lauren licence for 23 years, will hold a controlling 51 per cent of the venture.

“We have partnered with OrotonGroup because of their passion for the Brooks Brothers brand, their track record with other premium brands, and their retail expertise and connections within Australia and New Zealand,” Brooks Brothers’ Chairman and Chief Executive Claudio Del Vecchio said.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have them as a partner as we enter this important market,” he said.

Brooks Brothers’ online sales to Australia exceed A$1 million a year despite the absence of a local store presence. Sales are expected to triple in financial 2014 once the retailer opens stores here next year and launches its local website.

Oroton and Brooks Brothers have forecast sales of A$50 million in the venture’s fifth year.

Brooks Brothers is the latest major US retailer to establish a bricks-and-mortar presence in Australia, which has recorded 22 years of uninterrupted economic growth, on the back of robust online demand.

Earlier this year, upmarket furniture and gourmet cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma opened four new stores in Sydney, its first company-owned stores outside North America. The company said Australia's strong economic performance was a drawing card in the company’s decision to extend its brands beyond the United States and Canada.

OrotonGroup is a Sydney based, publicly listed retail company with more than 50 stores across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. It was founded in 1938 as a textiles company but is known today for its luxury handbags and other leather goods.

Brooks Brothers was founded in 1818 and created America’s first men’s ready-to-wear suit. It offered its first women’s shirt in 1949 and opened its first overseas store in 1979 in Japan. Today it has more than 500 stores across the US and in 25 countries around the world.