Authentic Brands, SPARC and the building wave of retail licensing

Hello from After Shopping! It’s been awhile, but the retail landscape continues to evolve.

The New York Times today went deep on Authentic Brands and SPARC, the brand-buying acquirer of bankrupt marquee names (Brooks Brothers, Barneys, Juicy Couture, Sports Illustrated). They’re broadening an already busy sector, where a brand name is simply a logo and a marketing plan, powered by organizations that design, manufacture and distribute merchandise at varying price points and levels of prestige.

What’s new is that in addition to buying and licensing the brands, Authentic is increasingly branching out into retail store operations, most notably with SPARC, a partnership between Authentic and mall owner Simon Property, which typically does not get involved in store operations.

“As David Simon says, maybe one day you’ll have your own mall,” concludes the article, which is a fascinating thought: what if you went to a mall, and every store, every brand, every product you bought ultimately was owned by the same conglomerate?

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