fashion companies in the fashion company profile area.
Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc.
is a holding company that operates the Eddie Bauer
chain. Headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, the
company formed subsequent to Eddie Bauer's former
Spiegel, Inc. declaring
bankruptcy. Eddie Bauer currently operates three
independent sales channels:
- Retail Stores - Sells "premium"
Eddie Bauer merchandise
- Outlet Stores - Sells Eddie Bauer merchandise
and inventory overstocks at value or clearance
- Direct Order Center - Catalogs utilizing
call centers in Saint John, New Brunswick and
Groveport, Ohio and the website (EddieBauer.com)
The company was first established in 1920 in Seattle
by Pacific Northwest Outdoorsman, Eddie Bauer (1899
– 1986). In 1940 Bauer patented the first quilted
down jacket. He went on to patent numerous other
designs and was the first independent company that
the United States Army hired and allowed to use
a logo on the Army issued uniform.
Bauer retired and sold the company in 1968. General
Mills bought Eddie Bauer in 1971, and
it from General Mills in 1988. In 2003, Spiegel,
Inc., entered bankruptcy. The Spiegel catalog and
all other assets were sold, except for Eddie Bauer.
In May 2005, Spiegel, Inc., emerged from bankruptcy
under the name "Eddie Bauer Holdings"
and owned primarily by Commerzbank. In addition
to the three sales channels the company operates
a distribution and fulfillment center in Groveport,
Ohio; an IT facility in Westmont, Illinois; and
a distribution center in Vaughan, Ontario. Eddie
Bauer is also a minority participant in joint venture
operations in Japan and Germany that include retail
stores, catalogs, and websites. The company also
selectively licenses the Eddie Bauer
brand name and
logo for various products sold through other companies
including eyewear, furniture, bicycles, and Ford
Motor Company's SUVs.
Eddie Bauer's flagship store is in downtown Seattle's
Pacific Place mall.
Eddie Bauer Holdings, Inc. filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection in Delaware on June 17, 2009.
1920-1939: Eddie Bauer's
In 1920, Eddie Bauer, at the age of 21 established
his first store in downtown Seattle. "Eddie Bauer's
Tennis Shop" opened in the back of a local hunting
and fishing store. He first specialized in building
and repairing tennis rackets and the shop was only
open during the tennis season, Bauer spent the rest
of the year pursuing his own sportsman activities.
Eventually Bauer expanded his line of merchandise
to include his own hand-made golf clubs and fishing
tackle and he changed the name of his store to "Eddie
Bauer's Sport Shop." Bauer would go on to develop
and patent a standardized shuttlecock. TheBauer
Shuttlecock popularized badminton in the United
States. While operating this first store Bauer developed
his creed, "To give you such outstanding quality,
value, service and guarantee that we may be worthy
of your high esteem," still used by the modern
1940-1949: The Skyliner
While on a winter fishing trip in Washington, Eddie
Bauer developed hypothermia. After this he began
trying to develop alternatives to heavy wool garments
used by outdoorsmen at the time. He attempted to
offset the bulkiness of down by quilting a down-filled
jacket. In 1940, Bauer then patented the first quilted
jacket in the United States:
U.S. Design Patent 119,122 and introduced it
in his store as "The Skyliner." Bauer
took out more than 20 patents on various outdoor
clothing and sporting equipment between 1934 and
U.S. Army Air Corps Commission
In 1942 the United States Army Air Corps commissioned
Eddie Bauer to develop the B-9 Flight Parka. More
than 50,000 parkas were manufactured for World War
II airmen. The parka was designed to keep pilots
warm at high altitudes. Of all government suppliers,
Eddie Bauer alone was granted permission to affix
his company logo to his products used by the army.
In addition to the parkas, Eddie Bauer supplied
the army with backpacks, pants, and sleeping bags
all of which became standard issue for American
troops in the war. Prior to his involvement the
army had a shortage in sleeping bags, Bauer eventually
sold over 100,000 sleeping bags to the armed services.
In 1945, soon after he began selling women's clothing
as well as men's, Eddie Bauer issued his first mail-order
catalog. The original mailing list included the
names of 14,000 soldiers who had worn Eddie Bauer
clothing provided by the army during their service.
By 1949, Bauer was employing 125 seamstresses. He
eventually closed his downtown store and got out
of retailing, except for showroom sales at his Seattle
1950-1959: William F.
By 1950, Eddie Bauer's health was declining due
to overwork and a serious back injury. He took on
local businessman and his hunting partner, William
F. Niemi. Bauer transferred all of the common stock
in Eddie Bauer, Inc. to Niemi who reorganized the
store and improved cash flow. It was with Niemi
that Bauer decided to focus his efforts on the mail
order catalog. By 1953 catalog sales were totaled
at $50,000. At this point Bauer returned to being
a share-holder in the company and formed a fifty-fifty
partnership with Niemi. Throughout the 1950s Eddie
Bauer, Inc. outfitted various scientific and exploratory
1960-1970: Jim Whittaker
In 1960 Eddie Bauer and William Niemi took on their
sons, Eddie C. Bauer and William Niemi Jr. as partners
in the company. Eddie Bauer went on to supply his
equipment for the American
K2 Himalayan Expedition and several journeys
through Antarctica. In 1963, James W. Whittaker,
the first American to climb Mount Everest, was wearing
an Eddie Bauer parka. He wore Bauer's products during
his whole expedition.
Eddie Bauer Sells Eddie
In 1968, Eddie Bauer retired and he and his son
sold their half of the business to William Niemi
and his son for $1.5 million. A group of investors
who had helped finance the buyout gained stock in
the company. In the same year the first store outside
of Seattle opened in San Francisco followed by their
first large store that opened in downtown Seattle
in 1970. In order to appeal to a broader range of
consumers, Niemi shifted the company's focus featuring
casual lifestyle apparel. The emphasis on women's
apparel and accessories was greatly expanded in
all stores, as well.
1971-1987: General Mills
In 1971, William Niemi sold the company to General
Mills. After the sale the company shifted its focus
toward casual clothing and expanded to 61 stores
and made $250 million in sales by 1988. This shift
included the company dropping the tagline "Expedition
Outfitter." Eddie Bauer also began a cross-branding
partnership with Ford in 1983 to produce Eddie Bauer
Edition Ford vehicles. In 1984 the first Eddie Bauer
Edition Ford debuted: the limited edition "Eddie
Bauer Bronco." In 1987 Eddie Bauer introduced
the "All Week Long" concept. This was
meant to provide women with clothing they can wear
throughout the week (e.g. at work) as opposed to
just weekend wear. This concept was sold solely
through the catalog when the first All Week Long
store opened in Portland, OR in the summer of 1991.
1988-2005: Spiegel, Inc.
Eddie Bauer from General Mills in 1988. Aggressive
expansion continued and within the first year the
company had expanded from 60 to 99 stores. By 1996
an additional 300 stores had been opened.
Eddie Bauer Home Collection
In 1991, Eddie Bauer launched Eddie Bauer Home,
a collection of home furnishings including furniture,
tableware, decor items and linens. The collection
was meant to appeal to the customers that purchased
apparel from the company. The home store maintained
a "warm and cozy" theme by presenting
beds with thick blankets and floors covered with
Eddie Bauer Japan, Inc., a joint venture between
Eddie Bauer, Inc. and Otto-Sumisho, Inc. (a joint
venture between Otto-Versand (now Otto GmbH &
Co KG) and Sumitomo Corp.), was formed in 1994 to
develop Eddie Bauer stores and distribute catalogs
in Japan. The company also has the licensing rights
for the use of Eddie Bauer trademarks in Japan.
The company opened its first store in September
Eddie Bauer Japan
In June 1995 Eddie Bauer
Germany was announced
as part of a joint venture between Eddie Bauer Inc.
and two members of the Otto-Versand Group (now Otto
GmbH & Co KG): Heinrich Heine GmbH (Heine Group)
and Sport Scheck. The venture, headquartered in
Munich allowed for catalog distribution and store
openings in Germany. Eddie Bauer entered the German
market in 1994 with inserts in the spring/summer
and fall/winter editions of Sport Scheck, one of
the country's largest catalogs before Eddie Bauer
Germany was announced and began distributing two
Eddie Bauer catalogs a year in Germany for the spring/summer
and fall/winter seasons.
Eddie Bauer Germany
In 1996, Eddie Bauer launched its Web site, www.eddiebauer.com,
establishing a third channel of distribution to
complement the retail and catalog divisions. The
company launched EBTEK, a new product line, including
both the EBTEK System of high-performance interlocking
outerwear, and EBTEK casual activewear. The EBTEK
System includes fabrics such as
Polartec 200, and
Eddie Bauer Premium Goose Down. Eight new stores
opened in Japan that year, bringing the total to
14 stores and three outlets. Eddie Bauer Germany
also opened two new stores in Germany.
Eddie Bauer continued to expand in North America
and internationally throughout 1997, opening the
500th U.S. store. Internationally, Eddie Bauer Japan
opened 11 new stores, bringing the total to 24 stores
in Japan, along with four outlet stores in various
locations. In 1997, Eddie Bauer Germany opened five
new stores, bringing the total to seven Eddie Bauer
stores in Germany. Eddie Bauer enters into a licensing
agreement with the Lane Company, offering an exclusive
collection of Eddie Bauer Home by Lane furniture.
By 1998, over 600 stores had been opened in North
America (556), Japan (32), and Germany (9). Eddie
Bauer entered into a three-year licensing agreement
with Giant Bicycle, Inc. to launch a line of Eddie
Bauer Edition mountain bikes for off-terrain and
city riding. Eddie Bauer and Signature Eyewear joined
to produce the Eddie Bauer Eyewear collection for
men and women. Additionally, Eddie Bauer and Cosco,
Inc. joined to build upon Eddie Bauer's "Baby
by Eddie Bauer" collection of Eddie Bauer Home
merchandise for infants.
In 1999, Safeco Field, the new home of the Seattle
Mariners, signed a two-year sponsorship agreement
with Eddie Bauer, establishing Eddie Bauer as the
official apparel sponsor of Safeco Field event staff
through the 2000 season.
Also in 1999, Eddie Bauer presented American Forests
with a check for $2.5 million, representing the
2.5 million trees planted nationally through Eddie
Bauer's "Add a Dollar, Plant a Tree" retail
program. Eddie Bauer's 100th birthday is celebrated
with the culmination of national "Building Cities
of Green" tree planting tour, in Seattle, Washington.
On October 19, Eddie Bauer retail stores distribute
one-half million trees to customers in honor of
company founder. The one-millionth Eddie Bauer Edition
Ford rolled off the assembly line.
In 2000, Signature Eyewear launched Eddie Bauer
performance sunwear featuring
Oakley XYZ Optics.
National Geographic Ventures joined forces with
Eddie Bauer to include the corporate sponsorship
of a new giant screen film on Lewis & Clark.
Other elements included a multi-tiered travel alliance
and Eddie Bauer sponsored Radio Expeditions, a National
Geographic and National Public Radio co-production.
Eddie Bauer opened a store in Honolulu, Hawaii,
completing Eddie Bauer's entry into all 50 American
Also in 2000, Eddie Bauer launched its first exclusively
on-line business venture, eddiebauerkids.com. Eddie
Bauer joined forces with American Forests to launch
the Wildfire ReLeaf program, established to help
in the restoration of land decimated by forest fires
In 2001, Eddie Bauer teamed with
American Recreation Products through
a licensing agreement to launch
a collection of camping equipment.
Eddie Bauer was awarded the Hispanic
College Fund Corporation of the
Year award. The NAACP,
D.C. Urban League, and
the Seattle Urban League awarded
Eddie Bauer with Corporate Sponsorship
Awards. Eddie Bauer launched
the first annual Add a Dollar to
Your Local Community Charity program
during the Eddie Bauer Associate
Giving Campaign, and each of the
550-plus Eddie Bauer stores selected
their own local charity to donate
the funds raised in their local
store. Eddie Bauer associates and
customers raised nearly $1,000,000
for the Victims of 9/11.
In June 17, 2009, Eddie Bauer filed
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The company had just emerged from
a previous Chapter 11 protection
in 2005, after its previous owner,
Spiegel Catalog, sought bankruptcy
protection in 2003.
The company said it planned to sell
itself for $202 million to CCMP
Capital Advisors, a private equity
firm. Bank of America, GE Capital
and the CIT Group have agreed to
provide up to $100 million in financing
during the bankruptcy case. The
sale to CCMP will proceed through
what is known as a 363 sale process
in bankruptcy court. A judge would
need to approve the sale, and other
potential bidders could emerge.
CCMP, as a so-called stalking horse
bidder, is entitled to a $5 million
breakup fee if it loses during the
court-supervised auction process. "We're
not looking to liquidate the company
or close most of the stores,"
said Jonathan Lynch, a CCMP managing
director, as quoted in The New
York Times report. The report
continued: "CCMP first took
a look at Eddie Bauer in 2004, but
was dissuaded from making an investment
because the company was then focused
on becoming a women's casual apparel
chain, along the lines of
... A new management team led by
Mr. Fiske began returning the company
... toward its outdoor adventure
roots" and led to the renewed
contacts with CCMP.