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Friday, May 27, 2022

APPAREL—L.A. Tie Company Buys San Diego Firm

Looking to profit from a shift toward more formal office attire, Los Angeles-based Superba Tie Co. has purchased a San Diego handmade tie maker and dress-shirt distributor.

The sale price was not disclosed, but Superba Chief Executive Mervyn Mandelbaum said annual revenues of Ferrell Reed are around $3 million. Superba plans to consolidate Ferrell Reed’s operations by the end of the year, Mandelbaum said. A handful of key people will be kept on, but most of the 40 to 50 San Diego jobs will be moved to Superba’s downtown L.A. plant.

“We believe the move toward corporate casual is over,” said Mandelbaum. “It’s gone the way of the dot coms. Men are coming back to suits and ties. And as ties are our business, we want to have all the ammunition to maximize our opportunities.”

Ferrell Reed specializes in traditional neckwear, and its ties sell for $55 to $80 in high-end stores such as Nordstrom Inc. and Carroll & Co., Mandelbaum said.

Ferrell Reed’s operations will be folded into Superba’s existing handmade tie operation, Insignia Design Group, but the Ferrell Reed brand and its small dress-shirt sales-and-distribution operation will be maintained. The shirts are manufactured by a Pennsylvania company.

Privately held Superba generates annual revenues of about $100 million. Its 650-employee operation manufactures 13 million silk ties a year under labels such as Tommy Hilfiger, Arrow, Jones New York and private labels.

Ties sold by the larger Superba division sell for $25 to $45 each in retail stores including Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Robinsons-May.

“If they’re making an acquisition and broadening their base for ties, they’re doing it at a perfect time, said Ilse Metchek, executive director of the California Fashion Association. “The whole (tie) industry is on the verge of a comeback. All these dot commers, who got laid off, now, in order to get another job, have to find a way to make an impression.”

Superba rose to its position as other manufacturers went out of business, Metchek said. A decade ago, there were four or five major tie manufacturers in Los Angeles, she said.

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