The Aldo Group has inked two long-term licensing deals with Authentic Brands Group.
Jonathan Frankel, president of Aldo Product Services at the Aldo Group, told FN in an interview that the company has signed a 10-year licensing agreement with Authentic to design, produce and distribute Ted Baker footwear globally as well as handbags across the U.S. and Canada.
The first collection of footwear managed under Aldo Group will launch in spring 2024 through Ted Baker’s direct channels, online and in stores worldwide, as well as at wholesale accounts across the U.S. and Canada.
What’s more, Frankel said that the Aldo Group will “work closely” with the London-based Ted Baker global design team to develop “premium” footwear and handbag collections that “preserve the brand’s unique design ethos.” The executive added that we can expect four collections a year, with the opportunity for some special releases throughout the year.
As for what types of shoes styles to expect from Ted Baker, Frankel noted that the UK label will release a range of flats, casuals, sandals, dress and occasion footwear for women. In men’s, the same styles can be expected plus “a bit of fashion athletic styles” and boots, Frankel said.
“What we really love is Ted Baker’s design flair and use of color and prints,” Frankel said. “It’s not every day that a brand can be both quirky and quiet in its details at the same time. It’s something we’re looking forward to in the design process.”
At the same time, the two groups are coming together for another 10-year licensing deal to design, produce and distribute men’s footwear, bags and small leather goods for Authentic’s Brooks Brothers brand in the U.S.
The first collection managed under Aldo Group will launch in-store in February 2024 and will be distributed in better department stores, specialty retailers, Brooks Brothers stores, websites in North America, and franchised stores globally.
According to Frankel we can expect to see traditional men’s shoe styles in this collection using premium leathers with a price point between $250 and $450.
“It’s pretty rare that you get to work with a brand that’s been around well before you were and will be around well after you,” Frankel said. “That’s my favorite thing about Brooks Brothers, I have a deep level of respect for its heritage, its legacy. When you think of other brands that have achieved that it’s very unique in the marketplace.”
Frankel noted that he is “excited” to work with Authentic and believes Aldo can help them in the brand’s expansion. “I think that we can not only help with a very aggressive expansion plan, but also with more relevancy on an e-commerce business specific to our categories, while also helping them expand our categories into a greater percentage of their overall revenue.”
And for Jarrod Weber, group president of lifestyle and chief brand officer at Authentic, Aldo was the right partner for the job when it came to these two deals. He noted that the footwar and accessories company was “extremely intentional” about immersing themselves into Ted Baker and Brooks Brothers.
“We are always looking for aggressive and talented companies that we believe would represent our brands well and we are an admirer of what the Aldo Group represents in the marketplace,” Weber told FN. “Once dialogue began, both companies believed this opportunity was worth pursuing. Their expertise and speed to market ensures that Ted Baker and Brooks Brothers will continue to deliver high-quality products that our consumers have come to expect and appreciate.”
This isn’t the first time the Aldo Group has partnered with the powerhouse on footwear licensing deals. Frankel told FN that the company currently holds the license for Element and Billabong footwear under the Boardriders Group, which coincidentally, Authentic announced it was acquiring in March for an undisclosed sum.
Asked whether we could see a larger partnership between Aldo and Authentic, Frankel comes short of confirming more licenses, noting that both companies work well together, but not exclusively together. “We’re excited about the chemistry we are building together,” he added.
These new deals come as Authentic announced last week that it had inked long-term strategic deals with two new operating partners, PDS Group and AARC, to run the Ted Baker brand in the U.K. and Europe.
Authentic also said last week that it signed a partnership with AARC to operate Ted Baker’s 120-plus retail stores and concessions, and the brand’s online business. AARC is a retail operator in 11 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. As a result of the changes, Rachel Osborne, CEO of Ted Baker, along with other senior executives, will step down from their roles.
Authentic acquired Ted Baker last year for $255 million. Before it was purchased by Authentic, Ted Baker brought its footwear business in-house in 2018. In the deal, the British luxury brand entered into an agreement with Pentland Brands, its footwear licensee since 2001, to acquire the issued share capital of No Ordinary Shoes Limited and No Ordinary Shoes USA LLC — the entities through which Pentland operates Ted Baker’s shoe business.