by Stephen Garner
Kenneth Cole

Oxford Industries announced on Wednesday its decision to exit the Lanier Apparel business, which is expected to be complete in the second half of fiscal 2021. The company expects the wind-down of Lanier Apparel to be cash-flow positive.

Through a series of acquisitions and divestitures over many years, Oxford has migrated from being a private label and licensed manufacturer servicing department stores and big box retailers, to owning a portfolio of compelling, direct to consumer lifestyle brands. That said, the company believes that Lanier’s business model does not work in today’s marketplace.

According to the company’s website, Lanier Apparel has been in business for over 45 years, and is the second-largest supplier of men’s tailored clothing in the U.S. It designs, sources, and distributes tailored clothing for Kenneth Cole, Cole Haan, Strong Suit, Dockers, Billy London, and Nick Graham. It also develops men’s performance sportswear for Oxford, Cole Haan, and Island Sands.

“Lanier’s business model does not fit our long-term vision for the enterprise and the challenges presented by the pandemic have amplified the misalignment,” said Thomas C. Chubb III, chairman and CEO of Oxford Industries. “Exiting this business will result in a portfolio that is completely in synch with our strategy. I want to personally thank the dedicated employees of Lanier Apparel for their contributions to Oxford over the years.”

This news comes as the company, which owns Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, and Southern Tide, reported its third quarter fiscal 2020 results which saw net sales decrease by 27 percent compared to the third quarter last year. Full price e-commerce sales grew 51 percent, however, in the third quarter with growth in all the company’s branded businesses. The growth in full-price e-commerce was offset by decreases in other channels of distribution.

“As our brands become more digitally-focused, mobile-centric, and omnichannel, they continue to add capabilities that create personalized and seamlessly integrated digital and bricks and mortar shopping experiences that serve our customers well,” added Chubb. “Key technology initiatives across the various businesses such as enhanced CRM tools, sophisticated enterprise order management capabilities, website re-design and improved SEO, enrich the customer experience, and add efficiencies to our operations.”