“It’s the most historical and storied men’s wear institution we’ve had in this country,” said Alan Flusser, a tailor and the author of numerous books on men’s style. However, he added, “for many years it has been more a memory than a reality in terms of its ability to influence or inspire people.”
The Times reported last month that Mr. Del Vecchio had hired PJ Solomon, the investment banking firm, as long ago as last year to explore “options” such as a sale or further investment. A restructuring plan was created before the pandemic, and this year, a group of potential investors valued the company between $300 million and $350 million. But Mr. Del Vecchio told The Times that he hadn’t felt that the discussions “matched the needs we saw.”
Mr. Del Vecchio also said that annual sales from 2017 through 2019 were effectively flat at about $1 billion, and that the company had debt of “less than” $300 million.
Union representatives at the Haverhill factory, which is Brooks Brothers’ largest in the United States, said the company denied requests on Tuesday for severance payments based on years of service and other benefits after the facility’s closure later this month, leaving the work force stunned. The Wednesday filing is another blow to the employees, as bankruptcy proceedings often leave little for workers.
Human resources representatives from the company, who met with the union in person, said there wasn’t a severance clause in the Haverhill agreement, in contrast to those at its other two U.S. factories, according to Ethan Snow, chief of staff for the New England Joint Board, an affiliate of the UNITE HERE union, which represents more than 300,000 workers in North America.
“Just two months ago, they received all kinds of praise for their quick way of adapting the factories to make masks and how important it was to do American manufacturing during that time,” Mr. Snow said. “Suddenly, these workers don’t matter anymore.”
Mr. Snow said the company appeared open, though did not commit, to a proposal that would make computers available in the factory for workers, almost all of whom are immigrants, to “sign up for unemployment and navigate the state work force system,” he said.