Tess Vigeland: Brooks Brothers has always had a certain Ivy-League-iness about it. All those preppy ties and seersucker suits. Now, the high-end menswear chain is putting its merchandise where its reputation is.
The store announced a licensing deal that, for the first time, allows it to sell sweaters, ties and polos from — and to — some of the most elite schools in the country.
Marketplace’s Jennifer Collins reports on the growing market for university merchandise.
Jennifer Collins: Here’s how it used to work: First you went to college, and then you went to Brooks Brothers. Now, Brooks Brothers will be on campus at a handful of top universities, and college logos will be on merchandise in Brooks Brothers stores.
Marianne Bickle is with the Center for Retailing at the University of South Carolina.
Marianne Bickle: By going into the college market, what they’re doing is they’re trying to build a loyal consumer base. And hopefully, they’ll become loyal consumers to Brooks Brothers permanently.
Starting in August, Brooks Brothers will sell shirts, ties and sweaters with logos of about 15 schools, including Princeton, Yale, Cornell, Boston College and Ohio State. Scott Bouyack is with IMG Worldwide, which represents several of the universities. He says the schools get back 10 percent of the wholesale price.
Scott Bouyack: This does have the potential to create a new vibrant product line that over time could return some significant royalty revenue for the schools’ licensing programs.
They could use it. Many university endowments lost millions during the recession. College branded merchandise accounts for more than $4 billion in annual sales and Bouyack says if the Brooks Brothers deal takes off, you can expect that market to grow.
I’m Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.
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