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Hot Kiss Adds Two Licenses

LOS ANGELES — Hot Kiss is thinking of hot, steamy days and Northern nights.<P>On Wednesday, the junior sportswear brand said it struck a swimwear license deal with Manhattan Beachwear and a Canadian sportswear license with Montreal-based Fame...

LOS ANGELES — Hot Kiss is thinking of hot, steamy days and Northern nights.

On Wednesday, the junior sportswear brand said it struck a swimwear license deal with Manhattan Beachwear and a Canadian sportswear license with Montreal-based Fame Jeans.Both three-year deals represent new business avenues for $40 million Hot Kiss, which has been ramping up its licensing operations over the past year with deals for shoes, handbags and eyewear. The company also retained The Cherokee Group to search for licensing deals in Europe.Hot Kiss owner Moshe Tsabag said the company has earned the right to license its name. “We come from the school of ‘Don’t drink the wine before its time,’” he said. “We already built the brand with the right distribution. Now, we’re ready.”

Fame, a $55 million producer that holds the license for Gasoline denim in Canada, is expected to build sales to $2 million in the first year.

The firm has already begun testing Hot Kiss product at The Bay, Hudson Bay Co.’s chain, which will be the exclusive department store channel for the brand. Rollout to 75 Bay doors and other specialty chains throughout Canada is slated for back-to-school.

Although it’s a narrower category, industry sources said swim volume domestically could be even bigger, an estimated $3 million to $5 million in its first 12 months.The collection, set to bow in July at the Miami Swim show, will be sold as sets and separates. Silhouettes include triangle and halter styles, maillots, tankinis and tri-kinis, with trendy embellishments such as grommets, braided suede and eyelet. Wholesale prices range from $34 to $38 for a set, said Lisa Keen, director of sales for Manhattan Beachwear.

Keen said Hot Kiss will be trendier than the company’s other junior swim offerings, produced under the Hobie, Surfside and Ocean Avenue labels. She said the company might do a preview collection in January, noting it produces a single collection annually for its other labels.