As a former Club Monaco shareholder — who dumped his shares in favour of riskier, pre-bubble tech stock [which, for the most part, I don’t regret]) — I think that I can answer this.
When Club Monaco was a publicly traded company, it was under constant shareholder pressure to make money (obviously) and in keeping with the business zeitgeist of the mid-90s, focused on building the value of the brand and controlling manufacturing costs. As a public company, it was quite clear that the plan was to build the brand and the company to point where one of the mega-brand stables would come along to purchase everything, lock, stock and barrel, and perhaps take the company private. That effectively happened when the company was purchased by Polo Ralph Lauren, because while the company is publicly traded, nearly all of the preferred stock is owned by Ralph Lauren himself so he maintains control over the company.
When you’re a publicly traded company, you don’t have anywhere near the amount of leeway to go against the grain than you would as a private one. Telling shareholders that you’re going to experiment with domestic manufacturing at a time when companies are moving production from one country to another just to save two-cents per piece is pretty much an invitation for shareholders to move their money to other investments.
The times and consumer preferences have changed, and businesses now see that there’s a market for premium priced goods that bank on being domestically produced. Sort of like how fools pay extra for “organic” fruit and vegetables.
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