G-111 Apparel Group Closing Wilsons Leather, G.H. Bass Stores
G-III Apparel Group, a New York-based fashion manufacturer and marketer, has announced the permanent closures of all 110 Wilsons Leather and 89 G.H. Bass stores as it restructures its retail operations segment. The liquidations of these stores are set to begin immediately or as soon as locations reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s wholesale business — anchored by the DKNY, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Karl Lagerfeld brands — will continue to be its “primary growth and profit engine.”
Total Retail's Take: This type of news has unfortunately become all too common in the last few months, as retailers make the difficult, but fiscally necessary decision, to downsize their physical footprints. In the case of G-III Apparel, the business moving forward will rely more heavily on wholesale distribution as well as direct-to-consumer (D-to-C) sales via the Wilsons Leather and G.H. Bass e-commerce sites. However, a heavily dependent wholesale model, particularly now as consumers show reluctance to return to brick-and-mortar stores and the struggles of department stores, isn't without its risks. Most brand manufacturers, including G-III apparel, would be wise to target and invest in making D-to-C e-commerce their growth engine.