Eddie Bauer Joins Growing Retail Stable Of Simon Property-Authentic Brands’ SPARC Group

Eddie Bauer store

Eddie Bauer, the 100-year-old outdoor sportswear retailer, will become the sixth retail brand added to the stable of SPARC Group, a four-year-old joint venture between mall owner Simon Property Group and brand licensing and development firm Authentic Brands Group (ABG).

In a deal announced in a blog post Friday (May 7), ABG said Eddie Bauer’s existing 300 stores and website would remain in Seattle under the control of its current CEO and join Aéropostale, Brooks Brothers, Forever 21, Lucky Brand and Nautica in the growing SPARC portfolio.

“Eddie Bauer has a 100-year history of unparalleled authority in the outdoor space,” ABG Founder, Chairman and CEO Jamie Salter said in the announcement. “The global outdoor market opportunity has grown exponentially over the last year and we are ready to hit the ground running and guide this brand into new frontiers in partnership with SPARC,” he added, noting that nearly half its sales were conducted online.

Although financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, SPARC Group CEO Marc Miller said the addition of the Eddie Bauer brand and its legacy will bring new and highly-differentiated expertise to the joint venture’s growing retail stable.

“The brand pushes the boundaries of technical innovation and performance with award-winning outdoor product offerings, bringing an entirely new component to our fashion and lifestyle brand portfolio. We are excited to work closely with the Eddie Bauer team as we help drive the brand forward,” Miller said.

The $8.6 Billion Beast

Since joining forces in 2017, the SPARC Group has amassed a collection of retail brands that does over $8.6 billion in annual revenue, or roughly half the sales done by the Gap, Old Navy,  Athleta and Banana Republic.

The transaction follows a 12-year ownership stint for Eddie Bauer by Golden Gate Partners, who took the company private in 2009. In a statement, SPARC Group said the acquisition is subject to standard closing conditions, including certain U.S. and Canadian antitrust filings and approvals, and is expected to close by June 1.

“What a brand,” ABG President and CMO Nick Woodhouse said on his LinkedIn page. “We are so excited to bring this tremendous and prolific brand into the ABG network — we can’t wait to work with their teams to continue the legacy.”

On its website, SPARC Group said it currently has over 26,000 employees working at roughly 4,000 retail and shop-in-shop locations in 65 countries with close to 50 million monthly visits to its various eCommerce properties.

In addition to its retail activity, ABG also owns the rights to numerous celebrity estates, including Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Muhammed Ali, which reportedly earned it more than $500 million in licensing fees last year.

As for Simon Property Group, the Indianapolis-based real estate giant is the largest U.S. mall owner with approximately 200 million square feet of leasable space. Shares of Simon Property have more than doubled in the past year and the company is currently worth more than $40 billion.