Tag Archives: Tommy Bahama

What the Lilly Pulitzer Sale Means

Hello-Hello, what a delightful Wednesday it is here at The Prepatorium, albeit it a little harried.

We shift directions today in light of yesterday’s big announcement that Lilly Pulitzer has been sold to Oxford Industries.

Via Fibre2Fashion.com

We have had a few queries on the topic, and thought it best to look at this development rather than engaging in our usual blather and drivel our planned post more relative to seasonal goings-on.

Back to the deal: Oxford was prepared, posting a link on its home page to “a retrospective look at the Lilly Pulitzer brand” via a You Tube video.

The clip offers a nice look back at Lilly history, including images of patterns and prints, iconic designs and celebrities in Lilly.

Oxford also co-hosted a conference call with Lilly’s management team to share details about the sale and what it portends for the future.

First a bit of background on Oxford. The company owns Tommy Bahama

And Ben Sherman.

Courtesy Photo via WWD

Here is how the Times’ Dealbook described the purchase:

“In the world of deal-making, prep is still in, and pink is looking awfully pretty.

“One month after J. Crew agreed to sell itself to two buyout firms, the parent company of Lilly Pulitzer — the maker of eye-catching dresses for the horsey set — sold itself on Tuesday to Oxford Industries for $60 million in cash.

And this from Michael de la Merced’s Dealbook story about on Lilly’s place on Planet Prep:

“No less an authority than “The Official Preppy Handbook” declared that the company’s golf skirt and beach dress were must-haves for Muffie and her friends.”

What does it all mean to us, the consumers? Here is what Lilly noted on its Facebook page:

“Good news travels fast! Here’s the juice…Sugartown Worldwide (the parent company of Lilly Pulitzer) was acquired by Oxford Industries. We are smiling ear to ear because everything will stay the same, only better. The company will be under the same leadership – aka Brad and Scott and everyone else here you adore. We are… in love with Oxford because they LOVE Lilly and want us to be JUST AS WE ARE, only more more more.”

From a WWD story on the acquisition:

“…the plan is to add to the Lilly Pulitzer stable of company-owned retail stores and enhance its e-commerce site, which launched two years ago and accounts for more than 10 percent of sales. E-commerce is viewed as “the biggest opportunity,”…”

Jean Palmieri’s story in WWD notes Oxford plans to add 4 to 7 new stores a year to the existing 16 corporate stores.  This may be good news in many respects, but there is significant anxiety from non-corporate stores, as all Tommy Bahama stores are owned by Oxford.

A few thoughts:

  • When a company is publicly traded there are different goals. Shareholders have profit expectations, and those expectations must be met. Having worked for both privately held and publicly traded media companies over the years, there *is* a difference. By the same token, Lilly Pulitzer is already engaged in making money, it hasn’t ever been a not-for-profit endeavor.  However, an additional $20 million dollars is on the table if Lilly meets certain earnings targets. It doesn’t take an MBA to recognize that amount of money can be a strong motivator in finding ways to meet such goals.
  • The current management team will remain at the Pink Palace.  Scott Beaumont and Jim Bradbeer, (CEO & President, respectively) brought the brand back from the grave and have demonstrated they know their stuff, we admire their business acumen. Those two gentlemen are very savvy marketers.
  • The Lilly Warehouse sales will remain in KOP (King of Prussia, home to the Lilly Mothership).

How will Oxford/Lilly react to customer concerns about quality, direction, and brand dilution? That is an unknown. Lilly Pulitzer has an extraordinarily passionate customer base, not quite on par with Apple (but close), with a devoted, almost-cult-like following.  Consumers know prints by name, specific garments by cut and style: the Bowen dress, Paley Cardigan, McKims sandals, and recently, the wildly popular Murfee scarf, to name just a few of the items buyers covet.  (Yes, we have a few favorites as well!) The Re-Lilly Facebook group has grown to more than 2700 fans in just one year, followers who buy, sell, swap and share Lilly merchandise, tips and tidbits.

Some believe Lilly is no longer as “special” as it once was. Messrs. Bradbeer and Beaumont have done a stellar job bringing the brand back from the grave, to be sure.  But recent collaborations have troubled some customers, the LeSportSac partnership seemed especially irksome to many, although it didn’t bother us.

The company has licensed or partnered with firms making everything from electric cars to cosmetics to stationery. (Full disclosure: we are sellers of the Lilly Pulitzer Stationery & Gifts line.)  The enormous Lilly Pulitzer Furniture Collection due out in the spring has sparked conversation as well. (More info and photos here.)  One area greeting the news favorably: the stock market, Oxford shares were up 22% as of this writing.

As Lilly’s executives noted on the conference call, they were not actively shopping the company, having declined previous approaches over the years. In this case conversations continued past the initial stage, and the offer transcended others in providing a solid “strategic and cultural fit,” according to Thomas Caldecot Chubb, III, Oxford’s president.

As with any transaction of this magnitude many factors are unknown. From a selfish perspective, we do love our Lilly, although we don’t live in it, in part because of the climate – The Great Midwest doesn’t encourage summer fashions year round. Sigh.  And we want to see the small, independent shops we love (hello Village Palm and many others!) continue to grow and thrive.  So we’ll cross our fingers and our toes, hoping that good things happen going forward.

More importantly, what do *you* think?

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Filed under Lilly Pulitzer Paper & Gifts, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, preppy stationery

More Sales: Tory Burch, Burberry, Lilly Pulitzer, Saks

The Princess apologizes if our previous two posts had a bit of a diminution in quality; they were our first attempts at posting whilst traveling out of town. What an amazing adventure to use the laptop with that wacky Windows system again! We are grateful to have returned home to Preppy Princess Intergalactic Headquarters intact, sans any severe weather encounters. (We do remain concerned about TP’s mère, however, facing Day 5 without power, and steadfastly refusing to leave the family property. Naturally.)

L&T Friends & Family

Judging by the wretched excess in length of last Friday’s post on the myriad sales going on around town and online, it might be difficult to believe we missed any. Think again. TP’s brain is less like a steel trap and more like a steel sieve; it seems we missed more sales than we told you about. Above, one of many examples: the Lord & Taylor Friends and Family sale, with 20% off almost everything online, but they are offering 40% off swimsuits, a big help if you have procrastinated on this front. There are also “more” or “deeper” or “special” discounts or price cuts. You’re grown-ups: you’ve shopped, you know the drill. The best idea is to check before you leave the house if there is any question in your mind about sale pricing being in effect. We make no promises, the best practice is always to shop early, and shop often. Below we show the Land’s End Sale notice, LL Bean’s is similar (although the discounts are not as deep).

Land\'s End Sale jpg

Burberry launched their sale today and there is a substantial amount of merchandise marked down. For those interested in wallets or umbrellas, especially those in the Burberry signature designs, there is a good mix available as of this writing. There is also a decent offering in terms of apparel. The Princess was most taken by this sweet cotton jacket with its empire waist, as well as the wildly popular ski jacket, now almost 50% off.

BUrberry JacketBurberry Ski Jacket

It is well worth your time to glance at the jackets and trench coats for both men and women, including this ‘packaway tench‘ in fuchsia or the Men’s ‘Harry’ jacket. There are also some great markdowns on shoes for both Men and Women.

Burberry Women\'s Packaway Trench on saleBurberry Men\'s Harry in Navy

Next on our hit parade is Tory Burch, with loads of goodies, including the trimmed polo in several colors and the elegant Veronica dress.

Tory Burch Trimmed PoloTory  Burch Veronica Dress

Once done at Tory’s meander over to Saks 5th Avenue for even more fun as they continue the Online Only Designer Sale. A substantial amount of merchandise is marked down. Significantly.

Saks Fifth 5th Avenue Sale

Like these summer espadrilles from Ralph Lauren Collection in a red ticking stripe and a pair of Jimmy Choo pink patent slides that are to die for!

Ralph Lauren Collection espadrilles at Saks Fifth 5th Avenue on saleJimmy Choo Pink Patent Slides at Saks

If you can manage to make your way out of the shoe department, take a peek at some of the ladies apparel, be it ready-to-wear or designer, like this LBD from Armani Collezioni or what Burberry calls their Neaton Classic Chino Pants.

Armani Collezioni Black Dress on sale at Saks Fifth 5th Avenue Burberry Neaton Classic Chino Khaki Pants at Saks Fifth 5th Avenue

Of course, this doesn’t include all of the jewelry on sale, like these very cool lucite bracelets from Alexis Bittar or Kenneth Jay Lane.

Alexis Bittar Lucite Bracelet on sale at SaksKenneth Jay Lane bracelet on sale at Saks Fifth 5th Avenue

There is also the Il Baule D’Elianne Infant’s Smocked Dress, and the fabulosity that is the Bose iPod SoundDock Digital Music System. And there is an enormous amount of marked down merchandise you will find in the Men’s Store, Just Kids, additional Women’s Apparel or the Shoes/Handbags categories. Most of your household name designers are represented in this sale, including Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Louboutin, Stuart Weitzman, Gucci, Hugo Boss, Tommy Bahama, Badgley Mischka Platinum Label, Dior, Carolina Herrera, Tod’s, and many more.

Bose SoundDock Digital Music System - White at Saks fifth 5th Avenue

While we are worshipping at the altar of the sales savings goddess, let us not forget the Lilly Pulitzer warehouse sale that started yesterday (Wednesday, June 11) and runs through Saturday, June 14 at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, PA. Why King of Prussia? Because the Lilly HQ are located here.

Lilly Pulitzer Warehouse Sale

Of course, if you are nowhere near this part of the planet, there are loads of online Lilly shops, and almost every single one has healthy markdowns on absolutely beautiful Lilly items. A few we love are Splash of Pink, or the Peppermint Palm; below we feature two girls dresses from the Peppermint Palm clearance selection.

Peppermint Palm Girls Lilly Pulitzer sale DressPeppermint Palm Girls Lilly Pulitzer sale Dress

As always, The Princess hopes anyone with information they think we should be sharing with the rest of the class (so to speak) will forward that to us via the comment form. Happy hunting and let’s remember this is not intended to be a contact sport!

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Mulberry Heads to the Hamptons & Brooks Brothers is Going Where?

Mulberry Screen Grab

Fans of the always chic Mulberry style will be able to enjoy it firsthand if they’re headed to the Hamptons. The company’s first ‘pop-up shop’ is opening this Saturday (the 24th) in East Hampton, and the British accessories firm says the shop will be open through the summer. The company will be showcasing some of its collaborative efforts with artists like Julie Verhoeven, who has designed a T-shirt line for Mulberry. A few of her creations for the firm are viewable below. The Hamptons shop will carry some of the standards you expect from this on-trend retailer, as well as exclusive items that were previously only available outside the US. Perhaps they’ll get a little welcome wagon Hamptons style from neighbors like Gucci and Ralph Lauren. BTW, if you know anyone who may be qualified to work at the upscale boutique, it appears they are still hiring from this posting on Craig’s List.Julie Verhoeven for Mulberry

Mulberry Handbag

There’s word this week from ever-so-preppy Brooks Brothers, announcing their next store opening will be in La Jolla, sometime this fall. If memory serves me right, the closest one to La Jolla would be Fashion Valley in San Diego, so presumably the preppy shopper in the area will be pleased by the news. (The state is littered with has quite a few of the Brooks Brothers outlets, far outnumbering the regular ‘Retail’ stores by a good margin.) The new shop will be one of the retailer’s larger ‘Flagship’ stores, also enjoying nice neighbors like Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Bahama.

The company is also moving ahead with its new Brooks Brothers Country Club concept store at Garden Walk in Anaheim, California.

Brooks Brothers Standard Two-shot

Oh, and a quick reminder for folks in the city that the Chanel fine jewelry boutique on Madison reopened today, after a major overhaul.

Chanel Fine Jewelry print ad

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Filed under Prepalicious, preppy, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle