What Happened to the Koret Clothing Line?


Quick Answer

In 1999, the Koret clothing line and Fritzi California were bought by Kellwood Company for about $164 million in stock and 6 million shares. The acquisition came as a result of the Kellwood Company wanting to extend its brand to include a product line marketed toward young women.

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Full Answer

Before its acquisition in 1999, Koret thrived as a moderately priced women's apparel line that was established in the 1930s and flourished in the 1960s. In the early 1990s, Koret forged a path to become an independent, privately held company. To accomplish this, the company laid off many workers in California to opt for cheaper labor in Guatemala.

During the time of this joint acquisition in 1998-1999, Koret wanted to improve its position in the market by obtaining further reach in Canada by merging with the Kellwood Company. After the merger, Koret moved is main offices from San Francisco to Oakland, California, in order to bring together both administrative and development headquarters.

In 2003, CEO Fred Smeyne was replaced by Harold S. Brooks to run Koret, which was one of the largest of 12 Kellwood womenswear brands at the time. As of 2015, Koret continues to operate under the Kellwood Company umbrella.

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