A new retail apparel chain formed as a joint venture by Canadian and American partners will open two stores in metropolitan Washington next year as part of a 30-store U.S. chain.
The new men's and women's wear chain, Waters & Waters, will be operated by David R. Waters, former chairman of Garfinckel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads, Inc. and a brother, Michael S. Waters, owner of an Ohio retail company.
Waters & Waters, which will be based in Washington, was formed as a joint venture with Harry Rosen, president of Harry Rosen Menswear Ltd., a leading Canadian apparel chain based in Toronto.
Initially, Waters & Waters plans to open one store in downtown Washington and another in the suburbs. David Waters said the company is negotiating leases for initial store sites and expects to announce the locations in a few weeks. If it is able to establish itself as a national chain, he said the company then will open additional stores in metropolitan Washington.
"We conceive of this as a national chain eventually and plan on doing that in the first five years," Waters said last week. Although the chain plans to open stores in most major markets during that span, "we will concentrate initially on the Washington-Boston-Chicago boundary area," he added. "That just makes sense from a retailer's point of view."
Waters quit as chairman and chief executive officer of Garfinckel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads after leading a bitter fight to avert a takeover by Allied. He reportedly had been involved in negotiations to buy Lewis & Thomas Saltz, the Washington-based men's wear company, before reaching an agreement with Harry Rosen.
Waters declined comment on any negotiations he might have had with other companies, noting instead that he had pursued several opportunities since his departure from Garfinckel.
The decision to open the first two Waters & Waters stores here and to make Washington the hub of its operation, Waters said, is based on statistics which show that metropolitan Washington is the country's leading market in household income.
Waters said the enterprise was formed to introduce the concept of the Rosen Ltd. Stores to the United States. The chain will feature what Waters described as clothing that is "upscale in fashion and price."
"Our stores will provide a unique alternative, the alternative to overly conservative classics or exaggerated designer clothing," said Michael Waters.
Although Waters & Waters is a joint venture with Rosen, whose firm is 51 percent-owned by a publicly traded corporation, the chain will be operated by the Waters brothers as a privately held company.
Harry Rosen Menswear Ltd. is an affiliate company of Dylex Ltd., a diversified Canadian retailer. Rosen operates 13 men's stores and six women's apparel stores in Canada.
Dylex, whose stock is traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange, operates 10 retail chains with more than 900 stores and claims 10 percent of Canada's retail apparel market.