Grafton Fraser partners with PE-backed ABG in Jones New York deal

Toronto-based menswear retailer Grafton Fraser Inc, which was acquired by Gordon Brothers Group in 2007, has bought all 35 Jones New York retail stores across Canada. No financial terms were disclosed. Grafton Fraser said it plans to grow the number of stores. It has also formed a long-term strategic partnership with Authentic Brands Group LLC (ABG), which bought Jones New York from an affiliate of Sycamore Partners in April. Based in New York, and with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, ABG is owned by U.S. private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners. Leonard Green and Canada’s Knight’s Bridge Capital Partners invested in the brand development and licensing company in 2010.

PRESS RELEASE

Grafton Fraser Inc. Assumes Operations of Jones New York Stores in Canada and Plans Retail Store Expansion

Canadian-led Companies Team Up to Preserve Iconic Apparel Brand

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – July 29, 2015) – Grafton Fraser Inc. (GFI), leading Canadian retailer of men’s attire, announces today that it has acquired all 35 Jones New York retail stores across Canada sustaining the employment of approximately 400 staff and plans significant growth in the number of stores in the near future. In order to operate Jones New York ecommerce in Canada, they have also signed a long-term strategic partnership agreement with Authentic Brands Group, LLC (ABG), owner of a global portfolio of fashion, sports and lifestyle, celebrity and entertainment brands.

In partnership with ABG, Grafton Fraser has secured Jones New York’s place in the Canadian fashion market to continue to provide consumers with a marquee women’s brand renowned for its excellence in design, quality and fit. One of ABG’s major shareholders is Canadian entrepreneur and retail veteran, Jamie Salter. Now based in New York, he leads the firm as Chairman and CEO along with his partner, Nick Woodhouse, President and CMO, also a veteran Canadian retail executive, formerly of the Forzani Group.

“We are very excited to add Jones New York women’s clothing stores to our growing fashion retail portfolio”, confirms Dave McGregor, President and CEO, Grafton Fraser Inc. “For more than two decades Jones New York has been a trusted fashion brand in Canada that women have looked to for its timeless elegance, great quality and style. We bring 100+ years of experience to Canadian fashion retail, and see Jones New York as a perfect fit for Grafton.”

“Grafton Fraser has the proven leadership, experience and team to reinforce Jones New York’spowerful presence in the Canadian fashion market,” states Jamie Salter, Chairman and CEO, Authentic Brands Group. “We look forward to working with Grafton Fraser as we continue to grow the Jones New York retail footprint in North America.”

Jones New York is an esteemed American brand with an active and loyal consumer following worldwide. Currently the brand drives nearly $1 billion Canadian ($750 million+ USD) in retail sales across department stores in key markets including the US, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

In April 2015, Authentic Brands Group announced its purchase of Jones New York from a portfolio company of the private equity firm Sycamore Partners. Terms of the April sale of the Jones New York brand to ABG were not disclosed. ABG maintains control of the Jones New York Portfolio worldwide.

About Grafton Fraser
In the fashion business in Canada since 1853, Grafton Fraser Inc. (GFI) is a privately-held company that operates Tip Top Tailors, George Richards Big &Tall, Mr. Big & Tall, Kingsport and Jones New York. GFI employs over 1000 people and is headquartered in Toronto, Canada. www.graftonfraser.com

About Authentic Brands Group
Authentic Brands Group, is a brand development, licensing, and entertainment company. In conjunction with Leonard Green & Partners, ABG’s mandate to acquire, manage, and build long-term value in consumer, celebrity, and media brands. Headquartered in New York City, ABG’s mission is to further enhance brand equity through partnering with best-in-class licensees and retail partnerships. ABG’s global portfolio of world-renowned brands includes Marilyn Monroe®, Mini Marilyn®, Muhammad Ali®, Michael Jackson®, Elvis Presley®, Juicy Couture®, Jones New York®, Judith Leiber®, Adrienne Vittadini®, Frederick’s of Hollywood®, Taryn Rose®, Hickey Freeman®, Hart Schaffner Marx®, Palm Beach®, Misook®, Prince®, Spyder®, Airwalk®, Tretorn®, Above The Rim®, Vision Street Wear®, Hind®, Ektelon®, Viking®, Bobby Jones®, Tapout®, and Sportcraft®. www.abg-nyc.com

STOCK VIDEO AVAILABLE
Jones New York Canadian Store broadcast-quality video b-roll available for download at: http://bit.ly/1JsZL8t
Jamie Salter bio available upon request.
Jones New York backgrounder available upon request.
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2015/7/28/11G049007/Images/JONES_MALGOSIA_SP15-327691876830.jpg
Image Available: http://www.marketwire.com/library/MwGo/2015/7/28/11G049007/Images/JONES_MALGOSIA_SP15-6-861087498474.jpg
Embedded Video Available: http://bit.ly/1JsZL8t

CONTACT INFORMATION
For more information or for interviews, please contact:
Dorothy Sitek
dsitek@generationcommunications.ca
604-992-4963

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock