NEW YORK — Calvin Klein Inc. is joining the growing number of sportswear players jumping into the better-priced accessories pool.

CKI, a subsidiary of Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., has signed a license deal with Accessory Network Group for women’s better handbags, small leather goods, hats and cold weather accessories, such as scarves and gloves.

The accessories will complement the better Calvin Klein sportswear, which is licensed to GAV and Kellwood Co. and hit stores in spring, and outerwear, licensed to Marvin Richards lnc., which is launching at retail this fall.

As part of the deal, ANG has created Calvin Klein Accessories, a new unit within its recently created luxury division that also includes Ghurka. Ken Landis is heading the upscale division as president.

ANG will handle product development, sourcing and sales for the American, Puerto Rican, Canadian and Mexican markets, while CKI is to control design, branding, public relations, advertising and account approval.

This is the first accessories license for the better-priced Calvin Klein line. The company already has accessories under the Calvin Klein Collection designer label in a license with Vestimenta.

The better accessories area has seen some action in recent months, which will likely shift the dynamics on department store main floors nationwide and put a squeeze on more moderate resources. Michael Kors’ better-priced accessories are hitting department store main floors this month and Tommy Hilfiger’s “H” handbags are expected to roll out fully later this year. Executives at Ralph Lauren said there are plans to add accessories to the better-priced Lauren by Ralph Lauren business.

While the Calvin Klein accessories line is still in the design stage, it will most likely draw from Klein’s modern vision, with seasonal leather and canvas groups, and contemporary shapes and details that work with the sportswear.

Calvin Klein accessories are expected to launch to the trade during the January accessories market, with a retail launch planned for fall 2005. The line targets select department and specialty stores, with wholesale price points ranging from $35 to $75.

“The better category continues to represent a major opportunity for growth, and we will continue to evaluate future licensing partners to further develop and expand the breadth of the Calvin Klein women’s better brand,” Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of CKI, said in a statement. “We are carefully and strategically contracting with licensing partners with whom we can work closely to bring the Calvin Klein aesthetic to this consumer and to complement the recent launch of women’s better sportswear.”Abe Chehebar, chairman and chief executive officer of Accessory Network Group, added in the statement: “The Calvin Klein brand will enable us to expand our market share in the status segment of our business.”

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