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New From Brooks Brothers: Steak

10/09/2013

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Brooks Brothers, founded in 1818, is the oldest men’s clothing store in the U.S. But that doesn’t stop them from thinking up new ideas.

The venerable menswear retailer said it plans to open a large steakhouse  in New York City by next summer. AWESOME!

It might seem like Brooks Brothers is stretching horizontal expansion to new extremes with a foray into the restaurant business. But it’s actually not difficult to see the logic here: Brooks Brothers sells high-end, traditional clothing, mainly suits, largely to men. And meals don’t come more traditional or male than a steak dinner.

The 195-year-old company is converting a 15,000-square foot, three-level space in midtown Manhattan, around the corner from its flagship store, to create the massive steakhouse. It will be called Makers and Merchants.  If successful, the retailer could open more steakhouses around the U.S.

It’s an ambitious and risky move for Brooks Brothers, which was bought by the Retail Brand Alliance in 2001 for $225 million from UK retailer Marks & Spencer (which was not a marriage made in heaven). Under IBA’s stewardship Brooks Brothers has undergone something of a renaissance and would appear to be making the move from a position of strength.

It is safe to say that a stop at Makers and Merchants will be on the itinerary for next summer’s visit to New York.

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