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Xcel Brands To Acquire C. Wonder

Xcel Brands, which owns and manages the Isaac Mizrahi, Judith Ripka and H Halston brands, has agreed to acquire C. Wonder.

A few weeks after laying off the majority of its employees in January 2015, C. Wonder filed for bankruptcy. The brand and retailer, which was established by Christopher Burch, struggled for years to differentiate itself in the competitive apparel industry despite its varied inventory assortment, which also included gifts and home goods.

Following the Chapter 11 filing, Burch Acquisition, LLC, which is controlled by Christopher Burch, acquired the C. Wonder brand in order to “explore strategic opportunities to re-develop and expand the brand.”

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Now, Xcel Brands is at the helm, and is positioned to acquire the entire C. Wonder brand, which consists of all C. Wonder trademarks, related designs and any other intellectual property rights.

Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, and the acquisition is still subject to board approval and other customary closing conditions.

Xcel Brands has a history of reviving struggling brands, which shows promise for C. Wonder. Described as a “brand development and media company,” Xcel has helped make Isaac Mizrahi a fashion mainstay, driving the opening of a new store and e-Commerce experience. As the designer and distributor for Liz Claiborne, Xcel also has helped rejuvenate the historic brand, selling it exclusively through QVC.

Perhaps most importantly, C. Wonder can benefit from Xcel Brand’s focus on creating a “total omnichannel strategy.” In a previous interview with Retail TouchPoints, CEO Robert D’Loren explained that “total omnichannel” encompasses store, the web and television, which he considers the most under-tapped channel in the media and retail worlds. 

For Mizrahi’s new e-Commerce site, D’Loren and his team focused on showcasing the lifestyle behind the brand by publishing aspirational content and using vibrant colors and patterns. Interestingly, these components align well with the C. Wonder brand and its previous marketing tactics.

Retail TouchPoints will provide follow-up details to this story as soon as more information is available. 

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