Unified Commerce Group is acquiring Frank and Oak, the Montreal fashion seller long hailed as a local success story in the tech community. The sale marks UCG’s first acquisition.
Founded in 2012 by Hicham Ratnani and Ethan Song, Frank And Oak eventually opened 16 locations across Canada, including two in Montreal. But it’s no secret that the company struggled through the advent of Covid. Frank and Oak operator Modasuite owed approximately $19 million to creditors as of June 22, around the time it filed for bankruptcy protection.
The company was valued at $80 million last year, and was on track to bring in $53 million for the fiscal year before the pandemic struck.
UCG will support Frank and Oak to continue business in Canada, in addition to expansion into the United States and new markets like Europe and Asia.
“We are delighted to welcome Frank And Oak to UCG,” said Unified Commerce Group CEO Dustin Jones. “Frank And Oak is exactly the type of brand we set out to work with and we are excited to embark on its next chapter.”
Jones and UCG come into the sale with interesting resumes.
According to WWD, the group has assembled a roster of experienced fashion and digital workers. Jones previously held top positions at Macy’s and Fung Retailing Group. Its board members include former Macy’s chairman Terry Lundgren, Chinese influencer and model Bonnie Chen, Good Charlotte singer Joel Madden, Nicole Richie and other with ties to law firm Clifford Chance, Human at Work and Lever Style Inc.
According to WWD, the group is looking to build out “a new kind of fashion empire.” And the Frank and Oak acquisition is the start of this. Unified is “looking to pick up brands that mesh well with Frank and Oak and can help it build a more complete picture of its customer base.”
“The number one currency in retail is data,” Jones told WWD. “We’re looking for companies that have rich data who know their customer really well.”
“We have to buy brands that have complementary data sets as we turn toward machine learning and consumer analytics.”