BOSTON — Cherokee hangtags will dangle from Target’s racks at least until 2005.

The Minneapolis-based retailer has extended its license with Van Nuys, Calif.-based Cherokee Inc. for an additional two years and has retained renewal rights after 2005.

The brand was exclusively licensed to Target in the U.S. in 1995. Since then, Cherokee goods have generated slightly more than $8 billion in revenues at Target Stores, with merchandise ranging from handbags to men’s bathrobes. For the nine months ended October 31, the brand produced $1.4 billion in sales at Target, adding $17.3 million in royalties to Cherokee’s books. Fourth-quarter results have yet to be released.

Cherokee ceo Robert Margolis pointed out that the Target deal "has nearly tripled Cherokee’s business" since its prelicensing peak of $700 million at retail. The brand, once primarily a women’s resource, is now equally large in men’s, children’s and accessories, according to Margolis.

International licenses add about $1 billion to Cherokee revenues, thanks to deals with Tesco in the U.K., Zellers in Canada and Carrefour in Europe. While Margolis said he considers the brand "mature" in North America, he expects Tesco’s strong results to continue. Encouraged by results from Spain, Carrefour has begun testing the label in France and Italy, he said.

Next up is to find licensing partners in Australia and Asia. For the latter, Margolis may consider inking a deal with a local representative to open Cherokee-branded specialty stores, a practice common in China.

The company recently licensed the Carole Little careerwear brand, purchased from defunct manufacturer CL Fashions, to TJX Cos.

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