Hartmarx

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Hartmarx Corporation
Type Public
Traded as Grey MarketHTMXQ
Industry Consumer Goods
Founded 1911 (incorporated as Hart Schaffner & Marx)
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Area served United States
Key people Homi B. Patel
(Chairman of the Board) (President) & (CEO)
Products Textile - Apparel Clothing
Revenue Increase US$ 564.87 Million (2007)
Operating income Increase US$ 2.49 Million (2007)
Net income Increase US$ -4.18 Million (2007)
Total assets Increase US$ 269.55 Million (2007)
Total equity Increase US$ 228.04 Million (2007)
Employees 3,800
Website www.hartschaffnermarx.com

Hart Schaffner & Marx, founded in 1887 and incorporated in 1911, is an American manufacturer of tailored menswear. Its headquarters is at 101 North Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois. Hart Schaffner & Marx is the flagship brand of HMX Group, a holding company that engages in the manufacture and marketing of apparel for men and women primarily in the United States. HMX Group specializes in men's and women's tailored clothing and sportswear—including golfwear, shirts and ties, and women's career apparel.

History[edit]

The company has roots dating back to 1872, when brothers Harry and Max Hart opened a small men's clothing store on Chicago's State Street, called Harry Hart and Brother. In 1879, the Harts' brothers-in-law, Levi Abt and Marcus Marx, joined the partnership, which was renamed Hart, Abt and Marx.

Eight years later, Marx and Abt left the business and were replaced by a cousin, Joseph Schaffner, and the firm was renamed Hart Schaffner & Marx. At the same time, however, the wholesale business began to grow, overtaking the retail operations. On the strength of wholesale production, Hart, Abt and Marx won contracts to produce clothing for the U.S. military. This introduced the partners to prefabricated off-the-rack clothing and marked their entry into the ready-made suit trade.

In 1897, the company began running national advertisements for its products and began selling off-the-rack suits through a variety of distributors. Hart Schaffner & Marx commissioned well-known illustrators, such as John E. Sheridan, to paint pictures for style books and retail posters.[1] These ads portrayed the company's latest fashions in rich surroundings, establishing Hart Schaffner & Marx as a premium brand.

Hart Shaffner & Marx advertisement by John E. Sheridan, 1919

By 1906 the company had branched into sizes for men who were unusually tall, short, or overweight. Hart Schaffner & Marx thus became a mass-market brand, enabling virtually any man to have a fine quality suit at a lower price than a custom tailored suit. On May 10, 1911, after years of steady growth, the partnership was incorporated. During World War I, the company introduced the first tropical worsted suits and the company's facilities were used for making uniforms.

In 1926, the company expanded retail operations by acquiring Wallach's, a large New York City-based clothing chain, followed by Chicago retail clothier Baskin the following year. The company again produced uniforms for the military during World War II.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the company continued to expand with the acquisition of clothing manufacturer Society Brand, a major manufacturing house in 1952; Hickey Freeman, a premier men's clothing brand and retailer of Rochester, New York, was acquired in 1964; Jaymar-Ruby and Kleinhans in 1967; and, in 1969, M. Wile manufacturer of Buffalo, New York. After these major acquisitions, an antitrust suit against the company led to a consent degree barring any further acquisitions, without court approval, for ten years.

A year before the agreement expired, the company acquired Intercontinental Apparel, U.S. licensee of the Pierre Cardin brand. After acquiring Bishop's men's shops, the company expanded into women's clothing, with the 1981 acquisition of the Country Miss chain. The Kuppenheimer Manufacturing Company, retailer of inexpensive suits with 41 retail outlets, was acquired in 1982, for $25.8 million. In 1983, the company changed its name to Hartmarx Corporation, with the new parent acting as a holding company for various subsidiaries.

The company acquired Briar Neckwear in July 1985 and in December 1986 acquired the casual suit jacket manufacturer H. Ortisky. The following year Hart Schaffner & Marx took over the nine-store Detroit retail chain Anton's, and in 1988 purchased Boyd's, a small retail chain in St. Louis, and the Washington, D.C.-based upscale retailer Raleigh's. In February 1989 the company also added the Biltwell Company, a clothing manufacturer. By 1992, the company experienced continuing losses and divested itself of all retail outlets, except the Kuppenheimer chain. The company sold its 91-store Kuppenheimer unit and two tailored clothing factories in 1995.

The 1990s was a period of offshoring of production facilities to control costs. During that period, they closed ten domestic factories and shifted production to the Far East, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Expansion continued in this period with the acquisition in late 1996, of bankrupt Plaid Clothing Group, Inc., a maker and marketer of men's tailored suits, sportcoats, and slacks; Pusser's Ltd., including the Pusser's of the West Indies line of nautical and tropical sportswear and outerwear in 1998; and in December 1998; Coppley, Noyes and Randall Limited, a leading Canadian maker of men's tailored clothing. In August of the following year, the company acquired Royal Shirt Company, a Canadian maker of women's and men's dress and sports shirts.

The label enjoyed considerable publicity during the 2008 Presidential Campaign when then Senator Barack Obama wore the brand extensively, including suits tailored especially for his acceptance speech and the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Address. Obama expressed a personal affinity for the brand, which is based in his hometown of Chicago.

The company and its United States subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy on January 23, 2009. At the time, the company said its Canadian and other non-U.S. affiliates had not sought bankruptcy protection.[2] Workers threatened to occupy Hartmarx's plant if the company's creditor, Wells Fargo Bank, attempted to lay off workers and liquidate the company's assets.[3] On June 22, 2009, Hartmarx Corp. received five bids for its assets in its bankruptcy proceedings. Bidders included Emerisque/SKNL North America, Affliction Clothing Co., Perry Ellis, and Versa Capital Management. In August 2009, Emerisque Brands UK and its partner SKNL North America completed their purchase of Hartmarx.

Branding[edit]

The Hart Schaffner & Marx premium brands dated back to the turn of the 20th Century and included Hart Schaffner & Marx and Hickey-Freeman, but it was not until one night in 1966, that branding became a significant factor in company growth. That evening, television host Johnny Carson walked on stage to deliver his nightly 'Tonight Show' monologue wearing a turtleneck sweater and a collarless Nehru jacket. Because of the overwhelming popularity of the style, Hart Schaffner & Marx entered into an agreement to market a new casual line of suits under the Johnny Carson name and, later, under the premium Bobby Jones brand and Jack Nicklaus's name. Hart Schaffner & Marx introduced the Austin Reed brand name during the 1960s. In 1974 the company rolled out a line of tailored clothing under the Christian Dior name, followed by Nino Cerruti, Allyn St. George, and Playboy. These new lines were created under contract to their designer namesakes and proved highly successful as fashion leaders. In 1979, Pierre Cardin was added to the distinguished list of designers. In the late 1990s, two new lines, Perry Ellis and Daniel Hechter, were introduced; the latter was positioned within the popular-priced segment and the former resided within the moderate sector. The Tommy Hilfiger line was also introduced as business casual wear. In 1996, with the acquisition of Plaid Clothing Group, Inc., brands including Burberry, Liz Claiborne, Evan-Picone, Palm Beach, and Brannoch were added to the Hartmarx stable.

Sale[edit]

In 2012, Authentic Brands Group, an intellectual property corporation with a mandate to acquire, manage and build long-term value in prominent consumer brands, purchased Hart Schaffner Marx along with HMX's other properties.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Price, Charles Matlack (1922). A Critical Study of the Development of the Poster in Continental Europe, England and America. G.W. Bricka. p. 200. "For some years the group of men who made posters for this firm consisted of Edward Pennfield, John E. Sheridan, Leon Gordon, and F. Nelson Abbott" 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/05/11-10