Brooks Brothers Has Filed For Bankruptcy… Finally

Brooks Brothers Martin Place

Brooks Brothers has filed for bankruptcy – I’m surprised they survived this long.

When Brooks Brothers opened their Martin Place behemoth in 2014, I attended a lavish store opening and left absolutely bewildered. Whomst may I ask is buying this insipid, overpriced menswear and how on Earth will they cover the bill to firstly, fit-out and secondly, rent what was surely one of Australia’s most expensive retail spaces?

I returned to the store with the PR company months later, having been offered a chance to review their made-to-measure service and was so underwhelmed by the house style and the quality, I never followed through, nor did I ever see a single soul in the store. Ever. My original feelings were further cemented – if they can’t give a $3,000 suit away, who the hell is buying them? It turns out, not even the Wall St bros.

In a letter from the CEO that I can’t read, because the local site continues to redirect me to their firesale page, I’m sure I’ll read something about a move away from corporate suiting to something more casual and of course, working from home due to COVID. Washington Post reports a sale had been in the works for some time and that the brand had secured $75 million in debtor-in-possession financing to continue its operations during the process – before it fell through due to the pandemic.

But let’s face it, the product was way off the mark and if they entered any one of the 70 international markets they operated in, the same way they did Australia, with sky-high rents and a marketing strategy that involved nothing but resting on their laurels, I can’t believe they managed to prop it up for as long as they did. Thus it comes as no surprise that in its bankruptcy filing, the company said it owes between $500 million and $1 billion to as many as 25,000 creditors, including at least $8 million in rent, with assets of $500 million to $1 billion.

Despite being surrounded by modern suiting brands like Suitsupply and competing with a boom in accessible made-to-measure operators, America’s oldest clothing retailer and tailor to the Presidents simply did not adapt.

And as the saying goes, died.

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