Authentic Brands Group (ABG) and Simon Property Group have teamed up again, this time to acquire Eddie Bauer.
The two companies, which formed SPARC Group, a joint venture to acquire well known retail brands at favorable prices, will be adding its newest acquisition to a group that currently consists of Aeropostale, Brooks Brothers, Forever 21, Lucky Brand and Nautica. The group as it is currently configured generates nearly $8.6 billion in annual sales.
Eddie Bauer, which was founded in 1920, will continue to be headquartered in Seattle with Damien Huang remaining as president. The company, which has hung on through struggles, bankruptcies and new owners for nearly 20 years, has a storied history that includes the creation of the first down jacket by Eddie Bauer himself. The current owner, PSEB Group is an operating company owned by Golden Gate Capital.
The chain currently has 300 stores across the U.S. and Canada, reports Reuters. Nearly half its retail sales last year were generated online as the company adapted to conditions created by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The retailer has a long list of competitors including Amazon.com, Back Country, Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Eastern Mountain Sports, L.L. Bean, Moosejaw, Patagonia and REI.
ABG will own Eddie Bauer’s intellectual property and the core operating business will be added to SPARC’s portfolio.
“Eddie Bauer has a 100-year history of unparalleled authority in the outdoor space,” said Jamie Salter, Founder, chairman and CEO of ABG. “The global outdoor market opportunity has grown exponentially over the last year and we are ready to hit the ground running and guide this brand into new frontiers in partnership with SPARC, Damien and the rest of the Eddie Bauer team.”
Mr. Huang sees the Bauer brand remaining strong and believes the retailer is ready “to compete and win in a digitally-driven, omnichannel world.”
ABG and SPARC have committed to continuing the chain’s programs such as One Outside (formerly called All Outside) program, which seeks to connect members of underrepresented communities with the great outdoors. The 25-year program, which includes a partnership with American Forest, has planted over eight million trees across the U.S. and Canada.