GIVENCHY TO HANDLE HANDBAGS IN-HOUSE

Byline: Katherine Weisman

PARIS--As part of the revamping of its accessories business, the house of Givenchy is ending its 10-year-old handbag and small leather goods licensing agreement with Koret, a New York firm.
According to Albert Bensoussan, director of the Givenchy women's accessories division here, the designer firm plans to take production of handbags and small leather goods for the U.S. market in-house. It already handles the manufacturing and sales of its handbags for the European market and will sell the same product lines in the U.S.
As a result, when Givenchy's agreement with Koret expires at the end of this year, it will not be renewed, Bensoussan said.
Givenchy's reworking of accessories started last December, when the company created a formal division for the category and brought in Bensoussan, who had held several posts at Cartier, to run it.
Prior to that, the designer house's accessories business was handled jointly by its licensing and subcontracting division. According to Bensoussan, accessories do an annual wholesale volume of about $170 million.
In New York, Thomas Tillander, president of Koret, said: "We're sad about ending the deal, mostly because we put a lot of time into developing it."
Although Koret does about $15 million in annual wholesale volume with the Givenchy line, according to industry sources, Tillander said the firm is not anticipating any deleterious effects on its business in the long run.
Givenchy will continue working with its other U.S. accessories licensee, jewelry firm Victoria Creations, Bensoussan said. That contract, he said, has just been renewed.
Bensoussan said he is projecting an annual growth rate of 5 to 10 percent in accessories starting this year.
--Fairchild News Service

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