Seven down in 2007 — nine more brands to divest of in 2008.
Since Liz Claiborne Inc. said on July 11 that it was putting 16 of its brands under review, the industry and investment community alike have been waiting to see how long it would take to dispose of the brands, how much they would sell for and what would happen to their brand equity given their uncertain futures.
The $4.99 billion firm accepted formal offers from what it has called "serious bidders" for the nine contemporary, better, bridge and active brands last Friday. Dealing with these higher-margin businesses has been tagged "Phase II" of the review process by the firm. Now that bids are finally in, negotiations can begin.
Claiborne has declared it will complete the review process on the remaining brands by the end of the first quarter next year, and chief executive officer William L. McComb said he is optimistic the process could be completed even sooner, based on industry interest.
According to sources, while many companies are interested in the brands — Dana Buchman, Ellen Tracy, Sigrid Olsen, Enyce, Prana, Mac & Jac, Kensie, Laundry and C&C California — fewer are interested in the hefty prices Claiborne is asking.
The conglomerate — which is holding onto its direct "power brands" Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand Jeans and Mexx — is also giving preferential treatment to bidders that will buy packages, according to sources. For example, Claiborne is hoping to sell Dana Buchman, Ellen Tracy, Sigrid Olsen and other brands in one transaction, a process that has made some buyers, who want some but not all of the brands, skittish.
Companies can still bid for a single brand, though. For example, Schottenstein Stores Corp., which owns retailers including American Eagle Outfitters and Filene's Basement and which acquired Adrienne Vittadini in December of last year, put a bid in for Laundry by Design. G-III Apparel Group Ltd. is in the bidding for Ellen Tracy, said a source. G-III currently has the Ellen Tracy licenses for outerwear, as well as suits and dresses. Enyce, Prana and C&C California all also appear to have found separate strong buyers, according to a source.
Everyone from industry observers to McComb himself has agreed the sooner the process can be completed, the better for all parties. Retailers have been buying the brands' merchandise conservatively, uncertain of their new owners and distribution channels. Also, even with Claiborne's incentives to keep employees on during the review, retaining talent in times of uncertainty is always a concern.
In September, Claiborne completed "Phase I," settling the fates of its seven moderate brands. Li & Fung USA, a subsidiary of Li & Fung Ltd., bought four of Claiborne's moderate brands — Emma James, Tapemeasure, JH Collectibles and Intuitions — via its Regatta division. Li & Fung president Rick Darling has denied his company was entering a second round of bidding for additional brands.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion