MILAN — Ittierre SpA is the latest company to target accessories.

The fashion company’s parent, IT Holding, on Wednesday announced the formation of a new division, Ittierre Accessories, to help expand its sales of handbags, shoes and small leather goods. Ittierre is owned by IT Holding, which also owns Gianfranco Ferré, Romeo Gigli, Malo, Gentry Portofino and Exté.

“Ittierre already produces accessories for its licensed brands, but we want them to be more than mere complements to the clothes,” said IT Holding chairman Tonino Perna on Wednesday at a small press conference in the company’s Milan headquarters. Ittierre produces under license the Versus, Versace Jeans Couture, D&G, Exté, Just Cavalli and GF Ferré lines. The latter replaces the former Gieffeffe and Studio by Ferré lines and will bow for spring-summer 2004.

Ittierre’s accessories currently account for sales of $35 million. Perna said he wants that business to generate $116.8 million in three years. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange rates.

Perna said the company was signing an agreement with leather goods expert Sergio Lin to help bring specialized know-how to the division. Accordingly, Lin will no longer be involved in the management of Sergiolin, a manufacturing company based in Bologna, now in the hands of his family. Sergiolin produces accessories for Missoni and was a licensee for Gieffeffe accessories.

“We want to be able to offer whole collections that will compete with designer-branded accessories but that will be priced in accordance with the younger ready-to-wear lines,” said Perna, who noted there is a “huge potential” in this market segment.

Ittierre’s accessories firm is housed in a 32,000-square-foot plant outside Isernia, in the center-south of Italy, and employs 90 workers. Perna expects this company to produce about 500,000 pieces per year.

Ittierre reported sales of $517.4 million last year and expects sales of $605 million in 2003. Last year, the U.S. accounted for 15 percent of sales. In 2002, the company produced more than 7.5 million outfits, distributed in more than 5,000 retailers globally.

Perna, who was bullish about the future, said he “did not rule out” the addition of two new licenses by yearend, but declined to provide further details. “These will be international brands,” he said. “The brands in our stable don’t overlap and we feel we have strong credibility and service — assets which will allow us to further expand Ittierre.”

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