Bruno Magli’s U.S. Unit Files Chap. 11

The U.S. arm of Italian Bruno Magli filed for bankruptcy court protection Wednesday, citing liquidity problems and losses stemming from several of its stores.

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Though Schwartz said there will be no changes to the product categories, industry sources close to the company said the brand plans to discontinue its recently launched handbag line and small leather apparel collection to focus on footwear.

To strengthen its U.S. business, the Italian firm has restructured its U.S. division and made a series of executive appointments.

Schwartz, previously vice president of Bruno Magli, was promoted to president of Bruno Magli North America. He will be responsible for the operations of the wholesale and retail businesses, including but not limited to the distribution, marketing, sales, planning, operations, business development and finance for the North American market. As vice president and director, Schwartz oversaw the firm’s retail and women’s wholesale divisions. Prior to Schwartz’s appointment, Bruno Magli SpA chief executive officer Luca Ramella also acted as president of the North American division.

Chief financial officer James Mullaney has added the title of executive vice president. He is responsible for all financial operations, logistics and information technology. Mullaney also serves on the company’s board. Prior to joining Bruno Magli, Mullaney was the director of finance for Henri Bendel, a division of Limited Brands Inc.

Scott Prentice, who was vice president of the men’s division, has been promoted to senior vice president of the same division.

Managing director Alexander Zschokke will leave his post in July and not be replaced.

According to court records, top unsecured creditors range from Italian firms holding trade claims to advertising entities and landlords. One of the top unsecured creditors is Peter Grueterich of Greenwich, Conn., who holds a $2 million employment claim. Advertising claims include $68,000 owed to Hearst Magazines and $62,966 owed to Advance Magazine Group, parent company of WWD. In Style magazine holds a $50,000 claim and C&M Media has an $11,729 claim.

The firm gained publicity during the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995, when it was discovered that Simpson was wearing Bruno Magli shoes on the night he was accused of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. He was acquitted. At the time, Bruno Magli officials acknowledged that the trial boosted the brand’s popularity, but after all the hype, the brand sought a lower profile.
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