Ailing Wilsons Leather Looks to Accessories

by MR Magazine Staff

MINNEAPOLIS – Wilsons Leather is seeking strategic assistance after a sales drop of 18.3 percent in the last year, down from $123.8 million to $101.2 million. July same store sales have dropped two percent from the previous month.

The board appointed Michael T. Sweeney, a managing partner of Goldner Hawn Private Equity, to the position of non-executive Chairman of the Board of Wilsons Leather. Mike Searles, Wilsons’ CEO will remain in his position.

In addition, the company has enlisted the help of three firms for strategic guidance: Financo, Inc., an investment bank; Telsey Advisory Group, a consumer research firm; and IDEO, a design and innovation firm. Wilsons Leather said in a statement that it intends to continue to grow its accessories business – possibly acquiring an existing accessories brand and opening accessories-only stores.

Michael Sweeney said in a press release: “Goldner Hawn invested in Wilsons Leather because we are excited about the Company’s prospects, particularly with regard to our future in the women’s accessories business. We believe that the Company’s 411 stores across the United States uniquely position us for success. As Chairman, I look forward to working directly with the Company’s leadership team in solidifying and implementing our strategy.”