Bluestar Buys Scotch & Soda’s U.S. Operations

The new Scotch & Soda is coming into focus — with brand management firm Bluestar Alliance consolidating its ownership of what’s become a more streamlined operation.

Along the way, nearly 20 stores have closed in the U.S.

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Bluestar, which acquired the brand out of bankruptcy in the Netherlands last month, extended that position on Thursday by buying the Scotch & Soda USA wholesale and retail assets.

Ralph Gindi, Bluestar’s chief operating officer, told WWD that the U.S. business went through its own restructuring and that his company was picking up a fleet of more than 30 stores.

“We’re taking all the stores that I would say fit the brand and are profitable and make sense in the long term,” Gindi said.

Scotch & Soda had 46 stores in the U.S. and four in Canada after a spate of openings last year, including new flagships in Washington, D.C.; Detroit; San Antonio, Texas; and Scottsdale, Arizona.

The free-spirited brand was founded in Amsterdam in 1985 and came under the Sun Capital umbrella with a 2011 acquisition. But the private equity giant ultimately couldn’t make the business work and started looking for buyers before the brand succumbed to bankruptcy.

Now the brand is getting a fresh start and a new leader.

Bluestar tapped Anthony Lucia to be global president of its Scotch & Soda USA and global business operations.

Lucia has more than 25 years of fashion experience at companies such as Hugo Boss, G-Star and Escada. At Scotch & Soda, he will oversee what Bluestar described as a continuation of the brand’s “premium retail distribution” with stores and e-commerce. He will also be streamlining and ensuring “a smooth transition across the retail footprint and global brand operations.”

“The brand is currently optimizing its business to enable further expansion and profitable growth,” said Bluestar, which plans to invest in marketing to drive brand awareness.

Gindi added that, “It’s going to be a healthy and strong company without debt.”

Founded in 2006, Bluestar has built a portfolio of brands that includes Scotch & Soda, Hurley, Tahari, Bebe, Justice, Brookstone, Kensie, Catherine Malandrino, Nanette Lepore, English Laundry, Joan Vass and Limited Too.

All together, those brands have retail sales of more than $6 billion with more than 300 licenses and more than 100 stores globally.

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