Maidenform, DKI Sign Licensing Deal

The DKNY and Donna Karan intimate apparel brands will have a new home for spring 2009 at Maidenform Brands Inc.

The DKNY and Donna Karan intimate apparel brands will have a new home for spring 2009 at Maidenform Brands Inc.

This story first appeared in the May 7, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Maidenform has signed a global licensing deal with Donna Karan International to design, source and market full collections of intimates for women bearing the DKNY and Donna Karan names. Maidenform is already showing product to retailers during this week’s innerwear market.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Both collections will be distributed to upscale department and specialty stores worldwide.

Mark Weber, chief executive officer of parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Inc. (U.S.) and chairman and ceo of Donna Karan International, said, “Maidenform’s proven commitment to product innovation and building brand equity will help us maximize our expansion opportunities in the women’s intimate apparel segment.”

Thomas J. Ward, ceo of 85-year-old Maidenform, which posted sales of $422.2 million last year, said, “This relationship allows us to penetrate key channels of distribution and provides us with another method to drive additional sales growth in the future.”

In addition to Maidenform, the company’s portfolio of brands includes Lilyette, Sweet Nothings, Rendezvous, Subtract, Bodymates and Self Expressions, all of which are sold in about 60 countries and territories.

Wacoal America had been designing, sourcing and distributing the licensed Donna Karan Intimates collection since 1992, and introduced DKNY Underwear in 1999. The DKNY Underwear license with Wacoal expires at the end of the year, said Richard Murray, president of Wacoal America. He said the DKI line had not been produced for several seasons.

Meanwhile, DKI is expected to sign a second licensing agreement soon with The Komar Co. Komar officials confirmed they are in negotiations with DKI to produce, source and distribute sleepwear bearing the DKNY and Donna Karan names.

Maidenform officials said they will review the brand equity and growth opportunities for the DKNY and Donna Karan innerwear businesses during the company’s first-quarter earnings results conference call today.

For the first quarter ended March 29, income fell 43 percent to $6 million, or 26 cents a diluted share, from $10.6 million, or 44 cents, in the same year-ago period. Sales dropped 8.5 percent to $98.1 million from $107.2 million. The company in March projected lower sales for the quarter because of a nonrecurring private brand program a year ago with a specialty retailer, as well as the overall retail environment that Maidenform described as “challenging.”