NEW YORK — Kellwood Co. has agreed to purchase G.A.V.'s interests in the Calvin Klein women's better sportswear business and has named Stephen L. Ruzow as president of the division.
The deal ends the services agreement in which G.A.V. managed Calvin Klein women's better sportswear as a business venture with Kellwood. The Calvin Klein women's better sportswear collection is produced by Kellwood under a license agreement with Calvin Klein Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Phillips-Van Heusen Corp.
In 2004, the core Calvin Klein label raked in $2.8 billion in retail sales, including all categories. The sale price was not disclosed.
According to a statement from Kellwood, the separation is the result of G.A.V.'s intention to focus on its other apparel businesses, including its ck Calvin Klein bridge sportswear line, and Kellwood's plans to concentrate its efforts on Calvin Klein women's better sportswear.
"We are most appreciative of G.A.V.'s efforts in helping Kellwood launch the Calvin Klein women's better sportswear business and wish them much success with their other business endeavors," Robert C. Skinner Jr., Kellwood's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Ruzow previously was president of Kellwood women's wear, a post he held since joining the company in 2001 from Donna Karan International, where he was president and ceo.
"Due to the importance of our Calvin Klein women's better sportswear business and the tremendous potential we believe it represents, Steve will forgo all of his other Kellwood responsibilities to concentrate 100 percent on Calvin Klein," Skinner stated.
For Kellwood, the deal presents an opportunity to cement its business with Federated Department Stores Inc. and have a presence on the better sportswear floors. Calvin Klein is currently available in 200 doors in North America, including Bloomingdale's, Marshall Field's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's East and Macy's West.
According to retailers, the Calvin Klein better sportswear collection is selling well, and one retailer noted it's ahead of plan by 50 percent this season over last year, with much future growth potential.
"The Calvin Klein better sportswear line has been successfully launched throughout the U.S. and Canada," said Alexander Vreeland, president and chief operating officer of G.A.V. "We have established a business and have sold our interests in this venture to Kellwood, who we believe have the resources to take it to the next level."Andy [Grossman, G.A.V.'s ceo] and I have successfully launched a business ... We are very proud of what we have achieved," Vreeland continued.
The deal seems to have been amicable, and it appears that there will be few changes in the direction of the line. Kellwood is keeping about 90 percent of the G.A.V. staff that worked on the line, Vreeland said.
"The business started out slowly, but much better than many of the other newcomers into this zone," said Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein Inc. "There have been improvements each season as a result of the close collaboration between G.A.V. and Kellwood. We think it's in everyone's best interest. Kellwood wants to focus entirely on better and G.A.V. wants to focus on bridge."
The Calvin Klein deal with Kellwood and G.A.V. was signed in June 2003 and started shipping to department stores in February 2004. While G.A.V. handled areas such as product, quality, fit, marketing and positioning, Kellwood was in charge of back-office operations and funded the business. Vreeland declined to disclose the price Kellwood paid to buy G.A.V. out.
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