canadian goose jacket prices Hampshire Group Ltd

Hampshire Group Ltd

is an Anderson, South Carolina-based apparel company and North Americas largest designer and marketer of branded and private-label mens and womens sweaters, which are manufactured mostly in Asia. Sweater brands of the Mens Divisions include Hampshire Brands, Geoffrey Beene, Dockers, Levis, Nick Danger, and Spring Mercer. Hampshires David Brooks Division produces womens sweaters, jackets, knits, wovens, and bottoms in a category the company calls better casual sportswear or country club chic, which it sells to specialty stores. At the other end of the market, the Shane Hunter division sells juniors apparel to the mass market under the Aqua-Blues label as well as private labels. The latter launched the Designers Originals label in 1956 in order to sell acrylic sweaters to the mass market. The divergent businesses were operated through a pair of subsidiaries: Hampshire Designers, located in Anderson, South Carolina, to produce sweaters; and Hampshire Hosiery, located in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, to manufacture pantyhose, tights, stockings, and thigh-high and knee-high stockings. A predecessor company had been engaged in hosiery manufacturing since 1917. Two years after Hampshire Group was founded, Kuttner became chairman and ran the business from offices in New York City. Born in Munich, West Germany, in August 1946, he grew up in postwar Europe, earning a college degree from the University of Reyensburg before coming to the United States. His father, Dr. Over the next four years, the company built up its hosiery assets while overall sales tailed off. In 1989 it spent nearly $2 million to add the production assets of hosiery company Trend Industries. Then, in February 1991, Hampshire acquired Belmont, North Carolina-based Vision Hosiery Mills, which made Christian Dior hosiery under a licensing agreement and did about $12 million in overall sales. Vision Hosiery became a third division for Hampshire Group. Its purchase was part of a strategy to sell higher-priced merchandise, items that retailed for $100 or more. In order to offer such high-end sweaters, Hampshire acquired five specialized knitting machines that could produce intricate patterns using lambs wool, cashmere, and other expensive yarns, becoming the only North American sweater manufacturer to own this kind of equipment. At this stage in the companys history, however, hosiery accounted for most 54.4 percent of Hampshires $87.2 million in revenues in 1991. With the investment banking firm of Legg Mason serving as book manager, Hampshire completed an initial public offering of stock in June 1992. The company hoped to receive $12 to $14 a share, but in the end had to settle for $9.50 a share. As a result, Hampshire netted about $8.3 million. The money was earmarked primarily to reduce debt, but some was also kept as working capital. About a week after the offering, Kuttner stepped down as Hampshires chief executive, while remaining in New York to act as chairman. He was succeeded by Richard Owczarzak, a 20-year veteran of the apparel business, who worked out of the companys Charlotte, North Carolina, offices. In response to conditions, Hampshire consolidated its hosiery operations, closing a finishing plant in Belmont, North Carolina, and another facility in Concord, North Carolina. The work done at these locations was moved to Hampshires three other hosiery plants. All were manufactured in the United States and Hampshires only significant brand was Designers Original. Moreover, retailers were looking to buy from fewer and larger suppliers. All these factors essentially forced Hampshire to diversify its sweater segment in an effort to become something of a one-stop shop, capable of filling a customers complete sweater needs, both mens and womens and at all price tiers. The new unit produced sweaters for designers Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, and Anne Klein. Despite the added business, revenues continued to dip to $83.6 million in 1994. In 1995 Hampshire began an effort to diversify beyond sweaters. Early in the year it acquired Seque, Ltd., maker of upper-moderate and better-price sweaters as well as womens blazers, blouses, skirts, and pants. The company had offices in New York and Hong Kong and generated annual sales in the neighborhood of $10 million. Later in 1995 Hampshire added designer Mary Jane Marcasiano and her signature line of knitwear to the fold, and added such high-end accounts as Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdales. Also, in October 1995, Hampshire acquired The Winona Knitting Mills, Inc., of Winona, Minnesota. Bean. It also produced mens sweaters under the Landscape, The Lake Harmony Rowing Club, Berwick, and American Portrait brands. Net income also increased to $6.7 million in 1995 and approached $12 million in 1996 when Hampshire sold more than 10 million sweaters. Sweater sales in 1996 accounted for $117.6 million while hosiery sales totaled just $30.7 million. This disparity grew even wider in 1997 when sweater sales increased to $140.8 million and hosiery sales slipped further to $23.6 million for net sales of $164.4 million. Also of note, in 1997 Hampshire looked to gain further diversity in its business by forming Hampshire Investments, Limited. For the year, Hampshire netted $5.7 million. The Mary Jane Marcasiano label performed poorly enough that the company elected to sell it in 1998. Hampshire Investments made further investments in 1998, the value of which increased to $15.5 million, split 60 percent real property and 40 percent stock. The hosiery business, by this point, was no longer a core business and the Hampshire took steps to sell it to a management team. One bright spot was the signing of a license agreement with Levi Strauss Co. to produce and market mens sweaters under the highly popular Dockers label. By this point about half of Hampshires sweaters were produced overseas. The company also achieved greater diversity in 2000 by acquiring Item-Eyes, Inc., for $18.5 million. Penney Co. Hampshire added further breadth to its sweater lines in 2001 by signing licensing agreements with Levi Strauss and VF Corp. to produce and market mens sweaters under the Levis, Wrangler, Wrangler Hero, and Timber Creek labels, and womens sweaters under the Dockers and Riders labels. Hampshire devoted all of its attention to further growing its sweater and other apparel lines. In 2003 the company launched a new mens sweater collection, Spring + Mercer, an allusion to a pair of intersecting streets in New York Citys trendy SoHo neighborhood. The line offered luxurious and fashionable, yet affordable, sweaters. The Nick Danger line of mens sweaters followed in 2004. Hampshire focused attention on its womens offerings, especially in the upper end of the market. The David Brooks country club chic clothing line was acquired in 2005 to form its own division. Then, in 2006, the Marisa Christina brand was purchased for $4.8 million. An $18 million company, Marisa Christina offered a lifestyle apparel collection that appealed to a canadian goose jacket pricesnger demographic than Hampshires other lines. It was sold in specialty stores and upscale department stores. The company announced that a probe would be launched by an audit committee and the board of directors to investigate claims connected to the misappropriation of assets for personal benefit, certain related party transactions, tax reporting, internal control deficiencies, and the reporting and accounting of expense reimbursements. Until the matter had been fully examined, Kuttner was placed on administrative leave, as was the chief accounting officer, the former chief financial officer who now served as treasurer, and two personal assistants.