(Filed Under Fashion News). Ailing apparel company Liz Claiborne, Inc. has entered into an up to 10-year-long licensing agreement with J.C. Penny Company Inc. Under the agreement, all Liz Claiborne and Claiborne branded merchandise—which includes the Liz Claiborne, Liz & Co., Claiborne and Concepts labels—will be exclusive to the department store in the United States and Puerto Rico beginning in August 2010. In addition, the Liz Claiborne New York brand—designed by Isaac Mizrahi—will exit the department store channel after holiday 2009, and will be moved exclusively to QVC for a launch on the network in fall 2010. The company reported that it expects these steps to swing the Liz Claiborne wholesale brand franchise from “a meaningful adjusted operating loss in 2009 to a targeted adjusted operating profit in 2010.”
Through the agreement with JCPenney, Liz Claiborne, Inc. will be responsibility for design, while the retailer will maintain sourcing, production, marketing and distribution, with both companies responsible for marketing. The 30 merchandise categories for women and men will hit stores in Fall 2010. The agreement has a term of at least five years and up to 10 years beginning in August 2010. At the end of the fifth year, JCPenney will have the option of acquiring the licensed trademarks and other Liz Claiborne brands for domestic use, as well taking ownership of the marks in the same territory. Liz Claiborne, Inc. maintains the right to market and distribute the labels internationally.
Myron E. Ullman, III, chairman and chief executive officer of JCPenney, called Liz Claiborne “one of the most recognized brands in the history of American apparel retailing with a deeply loyal following, and our research shows that it is among the most desired by the JCPenney customer.”
Through the agreement with QVC, Mizrahi will design a line of apparel, accessories and home products to be sold on the network beginning in fall 2010, while QVC will source and merchandise the product, and Liz Claiborne, Inc. will provide brand management oversight. QVC has the rights to the label in both domestic and international markets.
Liz Claiborne, Inc. has a brand portfolio including Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand; Mexx; Kensie; Kensiegirl; Mac & Jac; and the licensed DKNY Jean Group.
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