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Jones Apparel’s Acquisitive Eye

WASHINGTON -- Jones Apparel Group, which purchased the Evan-Picone brand name in November from Crystal Brands, apparently isn't finished shopping.<BR><BR>According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company "intends to...

WASHINGTON — Jones Apparel Group, which purchased the Evan-Picone brand name in November from Crystal Brands, apparently isn’t finished shopping.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company “intends to continue to evaluate opportunities to expand its product lines or distribution channels through acquisitions.” At this time, however, the filing points out, Jones “does not have any agreements or understandings regarding specific acquisitions.”

The filing covers a proposed stock offering by four of the company’s shareholders, totaling 3.1’million shares to be sold at a maximum price of $30 each. Plans for the offering were announced last week.

Further detailing the offering, the filing says that Jones chairman Sidney Kimmel plans to sell 2.8 million shares, which will leave him with 8.4 million shares and 33 percent of the company, down from his current 44 percent stake.

Andrew Grossman, president of Jones Apparel, plans to sell 78,000 shares from options on 832,000 shares.

The Sidney Kimmel Foundation, a Philadelphia organization with Kimmel as the sole member, will sell its entire stake in the company, 92,000 shares, the document says. The foundation does general philanthropic work, such as donating to area hospitals, according to Herbert J. Goodfriend, general counsel of the Bristol, Pa.-based company.

The Rena Rowan Foundation, a Philadelphia charity with Rowan as its only member, will sell all of its 100,000 Jones shares, the filing says. The Rena Rowan Foundation was organized for “charitable, educational and scientific purposes,” according to information from the Pennsylvania Department of State.

Regarding the Evan-Picone business, the filing notes that Jones plans to ship its first Evan-Picone merchandise in March, including better career and casual sportswear, suits and dresses.

The line is maintaining the better-price levels it had at Crystal Brands, Goodfriend said in a telephone interview.

“It’s staying in the same position, price-wise. This is a major department store line,” he said.

Eventually, the document further states, Evan-Picone may add to Jones Apparel’s growing presence in the factory outlet business.

“As the Evan-Picone product line is established, the company will consider opening Evan-Picone outlet stores,” it says.

The filing notes that Jones has opened 70 Jones factory outlets in the last two years for a current total of 100 and plans to launch between 30 and 35 more in 1994. “Factory outlet stores have provided the company with an additional distribution channel with attractive operating margins,” the document says. “The company’s outlet store expansion strategy is to continue to open multiple stores in select outlet malls for specific product lines [that] target different customer segments.”

The statement notes that the company also has three full-price stores. These are in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia suburb of Ardmore and Washington, D.C.

As for the firm’s established wholesale business, the filing notes that “additional store penetration opportunities exist for the Jones New York career sportswear line…[but] the greatest potential for additional store growth exists for its other Jones New York and Rena Rowan for Saville labels.”

The Rena Rowan for Saville and Jones & Co. lines are carried in only one-third of the stores selling Jones New York products, while Jones New York Sport is carried in two-thirds of those stores, according to the statement.