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  • Nick Monjo

Triumph Closing North American Division 12/31/2020

Triumph Holding AG, the international lingerie giant, announced yesterday that it “will discontinue operating its North American division,” which will entail the “closure of its headquarters in New York City, as well as its own retail stores and warehouse in Canada, by the end of 2020.”

That information was contained in a “Dear Valued Partner” letter, shown to BODY by companies with which Triumph is doing business. In the notice, dated November 9, Isaac Aframian, director of finance and administration, North America, Triumph of Europe, Inc., explained that the company “will, however, continue to serve its North American wholesale customers, with its global brands, Triumph and Sloggi. Through Triumph’s Business-to-Business (“B2B”) platform we will ensure continued business relations and deliveries managed by our affiliates in Europe.”

The letter complained, “unfortunately, COVID-19 has had a significant adverse impact on our company’s business in North America, which financially has made it very difficult to continue.”

The total number of North American personnel affected is not known, but one Triumph business partners told BODY “all employees are getting laid off as of 12/31.”

One partner, Michel Joanisse of Jolar Speck, informed BODY that his long time distribution agreement with Triumph for Canada is ending. He wrote in an email, “they have terminated our contract effective” the end of the year.

Emails to several contacts at Triumph, seeking comment on the move, had not been answered as we went to press. If responses are received they will be included in a future article.

The retreat from North America comes after bold but failed forays into the U.S. retail market during the past decade.

In 2012 Triumph bought a “majority stake” in Journelle, a small group of lingerie stores founded in New York in 2007. The company boasted, in a press release at the time, that its involvement would “drive the successful expansion of the Journelle business model across the U.S.” Yet the retailer’s only significant expansion in the years since was the opening a Chicago store at the end of 2015 and a Los Angeles branch in September, 2017. The California branch closed in 2018, and Triumph sold Journelle to an investment group that same year.

In 2013 the company opened two Triumph flagship stores on Long Island, and executives said, at the time, that more U.S. shops were planned. But few if any were opened, or for any length of time, and the two New York locations, one in the Roosevelt Field mall and the other in the Walt Whitman mall, are believed to already have been closed. At least one store remains in Canada. On one of its many websites the company claims, “Triumph today enjoys a presence in over 120 countries all across the world.”

The precise North American wholesale sales volume for Triumph is not known, but one company partner estimated the total at $5 million “at most.” Emails requesting confirmation of that information had not been answered as we went to press. — NM


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