Woolrich Inc., one of America’s oldest outdoor clothing companies and leading manufacturer of outdoor lifestyle apparel, and Woolrich Europe, licensee of the brand for Europe and Asia, owned by W.P. Lavori in Corso, will merge into Woolrich International, a new holding company responsible for leading and increasing growth of the Woolrich brand, both in the North American market and worldwide.
The agreement includes all of the entity’s industrial assets, the rights associated with the brand and the entire distribution network. Financial terms of the private transaction have not been disclosed. The newborn company Woolrich International will be based in London and will coordinate operating offices in New York City and Woolrich, Pennsylvania (US), plus in Bologna and Milan (Italy).
The new entity will employ 300 people globally and expects to close 2016 with annual sales of USD190 million. The Woolrich brand expects to increase its annual sales by 12% yearly from 2017 to 2020, and aims to reach an annual turnover of USD300 million by 2020, employing 500 people. This expansion is supported by a capital expenditure plan of about USD50 million, aimed to reach over 60 points of sale.
Woolrich International, at the end of the four years strategic plan, also aims to be listed through an IPO in a prominent international stock market with the aim to sustain the second growth phase on the emerging markets.
Woolrich Inc. was founded in 1830 by John Rich with the establishment of the original Woolrich Woolen Mill, still operative in Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, after being established as manufacturer for military clothes and blankets, it started producing durable and functional American outer apparel. W.P. Lavori in Corso has been a partner of Woolrich since 1984, when it started its distribution.
In 1998, the collaboration became a license to design, produce and distribute Woolrich products, first in Italy only, then also in Europe and Asia. Thanks to the launch of the Woolrich John Rich & Bros. collection and its original icon Arctic Parka, Woolrich is renowned and distributed today in 45 countries with a network of 25 monobrand stores.
Cristina Calori, chairman and CEO, W.P. Lavori in Corso and Woolrich Europe, will lead the merged organization and will cover the role as chairman of Woolrich International. Paolo Corinaldesi will be CEO of the newborn Woolrich Inc. company and Andrea Canè, already creative director for Woolrich Europe, will become global creative director with complete creative responsibility for all Woolrich collections and brand image. Nicholas Brayton, 7 generation descendent of founder John Rich, will continue his role as president of Woolrich Inc., leading the North American market.
W.P. Lavori in Corso will control and consolidate the new entity, while the Rich family will continue to own a significant stake.
Woolrich’s new strategic plans include a further global expansion of the Woolrich John Rich & Bros. label as an outerwear leader, supported by marketing investments, development of the retail network and acceleration of the e-commerce channel; They will develop the Woolrich John Rich & Bros. brand in Greater China and will also relaunch the Woolrich Outdoor clothing brand globally. Another future plan is to reinforce and exploit Woolen Mill, still one of the few operating woolen mills in America, for the production of Made in USA textiles and blankets.
Cristina Calori, chairman, Woolrich International commented: “We are extremely proud of this industrial deal, as with over 32 years of collaboration, we have built an excellent relationship between the Woolrich and W.P. families. We are determined to enhance our successful business model to foster development of the brand all over the world.”
“Woolrich is America’s oldest outdoor clothing company; its history runs parallel to that of the United States,” commented Andrea Canè, global creative director, Woolrich International. “With Woolrich John Rich & Bros, we embraced the history and archives to embed protection, functionality and quality into a contemporary outerwear collection recognized by the iconic Arctic Parka. This merger will help us increase global brand recognition and success, adding to the contemporary line, the launch of a new outdoor project.”
Nicholas Brayton, president, Woolrich Inc., stated: “This agreement is a milestone in the growth of an iconic American brand that has been on the market for almost two centuries. The new strategy will translate into further acceleration of our international growth and we could not be more excited about what this means for the future of Woolrich.”
Story: Sporstwear International – by— November 29, 2016