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Lacoste Launches New Accessories Venture

Lacoste is moving into the high-end accessories business, ends long relationship with Samsonite.

PARIS — Lacoste is preparing to move into the high-end accessories business.

On Monday, the French sportswear company issued a joint statement with Samsonite that said their decadelong partnership would come to an end with the fall season.

Effective in January 2011, Lacoste’s leather accessories license will be handled by Devanlay, Lacoste’s historic worldwide apparel partner, which owns 35 percent of the brand. Lacoste, in turn, owns 10 percent of Devanlay, a unit of the Swiss group Maus, which also owns the brands Aigle, Gant and the parapharmacy Parashop.

Lacoste said the move would allow it to increase its offer and to more closely align its accessories range with fashion collections by artistic director Christophe Lemaire.

Lacoste and Devanlay said they would work with the privately held French company Tolomei, a specialist in high-end leather products.

In order to develop the new activity, Devanlay and Tolomei have created a 50-50 joint venture called Cemalac.

The first collections produced by this new entity will be unveiled for the spring 2011 season and include small leather goods, handbags and travel bags for women and men.

These items will be distributed through Devanlay’s existing network, which counts 1,100 Lacoste boutiques worldwide. The new license is effective until 2023.