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Hartmarx to Keep Burberry License

Judge denies Burberry's request to terminate its tailored clothing license with Hartmarx.

The judge presiding over Hartmarx’s bankruptcy proceedings has denied Burberry’s request to terminate its tailored clothing license with the troubled company, effectively ensuring the partnership through 2010.

This story first appeared in the April 16, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Burberry Limited filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois two weeks ago seeking to end the 12-year partnership. The company argued in the filing that because Hartmarx might be sold, Burberry has the right to terminate the license now in order to line up a new manufacturer.

But according to a lawyer present at Tuesday’s hearing, the judge said Burberry’s request was “premature” and rejected the motion.

The relationship with Hickey Freeman, the Hartmarx-owned brand that produces Burberry’s tailored clothing at its Rochester, N.Y., facility has long been lucrative. According to court documents, the license has generated more than $20 million a year in revenues since 2004, more than a quarter of which have come from orders placed by Burberry.