By and  on July 26, 2010

Jones Apparel Group Inc. has entered into a worldwide licensing agreement with Inter Parfums USA, a subsidiary of Inter Parfums Inc., for the creation, production, marketing and distribution of women’s scents under the Nine West brand.

The initial contract runs through 2016, with a provision for further renewal, and the first scents are expected to hit counters in fall 2011, said Richard Dickson, chief executive officer of branded businesses at Jones Apparel Group. He added they will be sold globally in department and specialty stores, as well as Nine West’s freestanding retail stores.

“Nine West has been creating dynamic fashion accessories for women since 1978,” Dickson told WWD, adding that the company sells in 59 countries and operates about 1,000 of its own stores globally. “Our DNA has been about satisfying cravings to be on trend, to be what’s hot and new. Fragrance has those same emotive qualities. Once you understand the brand and the emotional connection, all of a sudden our going into the fragrance business makes a lot of sense. We believe the fragrance is a great extension of the Nine West brand.”

The licensing agreement also gives Firmenich the exclusive right to create and supply the initial Nine West scent, noted Dickson, adding that Jones is in the beauty business for the long haul. “This is the start of a long journey — it’s not just one project,” said Dickson. “Extending beyond fragrance is definitely part of our strategy, but first and foremost we want to make the first fragrance successful in this highly competitive world.”

“I am delighted that our two companies will be joining forces to expand the Nine West brand into the fragrance category,” said Jean Madar, ceo and chairman of the board at Inter Parfums. “The loyal, multigenerational Nine West customer, which includes just about all the women I know, will be in our sights as we develop and launch our first and subsequent fragrances and ancillaries under the brand.”

Separately on Friday, Inter Parfums and its Paris-based subsidiary, Inter Parfums SA, reported that their second-quarter sales were up more than 20 percent.

Inter Parfums Inc. posted sales of $107.8 million during the quarter ended June 30, a 21.6 percent increase from $88.6 million in the same period last year. The firm, which just signed a beauty licensing deal with Betsey Johnson, attributed the gain to an upturn in sales from its international specialty retail product distribution business and product launches.

Year-to-date sales jumped 26.9 percent to $227.1 million from $179 million in the first six months of 2009.

Meanwhile, revenues at Inter Parfums SA jumped 24.2 percent in the second quarter to 72.4 million euros, or $92.2 million, driven in part by growth from long-established product lines and emerging markets.

At constant exchange, revenues increased 23.4 percent.

Dollar figures are converted from euros at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

Inter Parfums SA posted first-half sales of 150.7 million euros, or $199.9 million, up 24.3 percent year-over-year. At constant exchange, they advanced 26 percent.

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