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Michael Kors Signs New Shoe Licensing Agreement

Michael Kors’ shoe business is making changes.

Michael Kors’ shoe business is making changes.

This story first appeared in the November 11, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The company is ending its partnership with Schwartz & Benjamin Inc., which for the last seven years produced the Collection and Kors Michael Kors shoe lines. Kors has signed a new licensing agreement with Iris SpA for its luxury-priced Collection footwear and brought its contemporary Kors division in-house. Kors’ affiliation with Schwartz & Benjamin will end with the spring season.

Iris is a subsidiary of Milan-based Gibò Compagnia SpA, which manufactures Michael Kors designer sportswear. Iris will produce four collections annually beginning with the fall 2009 season and will handle the lines’ production, sales and distribution. Collection shoes will continue to be carried in all Michael Kors boutiques, as well as luxury and specialty department stores around the world.

All design, production and sales for the Kors collection will be handled by Michael Kors at the firm’s offices in Manhattan and its new showroom in Milan.

“We have had great success with our accessory and footwear collections in both our existing stores and wholesale accounts, thus the demand is there to build on these existing businesses,” said John Idol, chief executive officer at Michael Kors. “Accessories are obviously an important component for our overall growth strategy. Iris is renowned as a manufacturer of luxury footwear, which is commensurate with the positioning of our Collection sportswear business, thus making Iris the perfect partner. Moving the design and production of Kors footwear in-house allows us to further expand what is a dynamic and vibrant component in the footwear category of the brand.”