Yet another intriguing development in the fabric industry: Today, Fabricut announced that it has acquired Clarence House.
“Fabricut has agreed in principle to acquire Clarence House, a luxury brand of unparalleled reputation owned by P/Kaufmann,” David Finer, CEO of Fabricut, and Ron Kaufmann, CEO of P/Kaufmann, said in a statement shared exclusively with Business of Home. “Clarence House significantly increases our foothold in the luxury fabric market, and we will work diligently to expand and enhance its revered image with the interior designer.”
Earlier this year (and let us remind you we’re only halfway through March), Fabricut launched its new digital platform that allows trade professionals to place orders online. Fabricut has over 11,000 patterns in its collection, operates 69 U.S. showrooms (nine corporate-owned, as well as 60 agent showrooms), and is one of the largest distributors in the world. Founded 60 years ago, the privately-owned Tulsa, Oklahoma–based business has long partnered with designers, companies and other brands for collections.
P/Kaufmann is one of the largest textiles suppliers in the fabric business. Today, the company produces fabrics for brands like Ralph Lauren Home—perhaps making a showroom brand like Clarence House, which the company acquired in 2003, a somewhat awkward fit with its overarching business model.
Clarence House will likely complement Fabricut’s Vervain line at the highest end of the brand’s offerings. The company, an established trade-only luxury brand, was founded in 1961 by New York designer Robin Roberts. The brand currently operates 16 domestic showrooms, as well as a handful of international outposts.
About a month ago, BOH broke the news that Robert Allen Duralee Group declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy following months of staff reductions. But at the time, Fabricut vice president David Klaristenfeld remained optimistic about the fabric business. “I don’t think this bankruptcy is a sign of where things are going,” he told BOH in February. “There are so few people who want to do what we’re doing. Even with DIYers, there’s still a tremendous design clientele. And it’s not an easy thing to stock 60,000 fabrics. For companies like us that have the inventory without a heavy debt load, we’ll survive the market and come out stronger.”
Fabricut and P/Kaufmann plan to finalize the transition by the end of this summer.