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Hollands to oversee Bombay brand emergence

New York — Global sourcing company Otto International has hired a Bombay Company veteran to oversee the resuscitated brand in the United States and has announced plans to segment the brand, targeting three distribution channels.

William Hollands was named chief merchant overseeing Otto's Bombay Company operating unit, which manages the U.S. licensing agreement with Bombay Brands LLC.

Hollands was vice president of merchandising for the former Fort Worth, Texas-based The Bombay Company when he left in 2007.

Bombay filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection that year and subsequently liquidated its U.S. stores. In 2008, the Bombay Brands joint venture was formed by Hilco Consumer Capital and Gordon Bros. Brands to keep the brand alive in the United States.

Bombay Brands is a brand management company that owns, markets and licenses the Bombay trademarks globally. Otto International's Bombay Company unit manages the U.S. licensing agreement with Bombay Brands, according to a release.

Holland will lead the effort to segment the Bombay brand in the U.S. as three distinct sub-brands, to be sold through high-end department stores and specialty gift stores; mid-tier home furnishings retailers; and mass merchants and discount chains.

The three divisions will offer a range of goods including furniture, home accents, bed and bath, outdoor living, tabletop, gifts and holiday products.

Otto said Hollands was instrumental in the development and sourcing of multiple product categories, and grew the Bombay Company during its key era of expansion and evolution.

In addition, from 1992 to 1998, he was responsible for buying and product development at Fort Worth-based Pier 1 Imports, and in 1999 he founded his own retail company in Dallas. Most recently, Hollands was senior vice president of merchandising at American Signature Inc.

"Wil is a fearless entrepreneur who radiates enthusiasm and passion for the Bombay brand," said Otto International President Mitchell Smiles. "His unique experience with Bombay and relationships in the home category, coupled with Otto's capabilities and resources, bring infinite opportunities to the Bombay brand as it heads in a new strategic direction."

Hollands said his new multi-channel retail strategy will bring the Bombay brand to more consumers than the company was ever able to reach as a specialty retailer.

"Under the ownership of Gordon Brothers Brands and Hilco Consumer Capital, and with Otto International's product development expertise, we have a tremendous opportunity for growth and evolution," he said.

"The Bombay name is still one of the most recognizable names in home furnishings. Demand continues to be high for our products because of the unique and unexpected twists we design into classic pieces, and the fact this is a true lifestyle brand."

Founded in 1978 as a niche specialty home goods retail concept, Bombay grew to about 350 retail stores with nearly $600 million in annual sales before its eventual collapse.

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