NEW YORK — Perry Ellis International Inc. said Friday it had inked a licensing deal with European Design Group Inc. to produce a women’s suit line under the Perry Ellis and Perry Ellis Portfolio brands.

The lines are to be launched for spring 2004 retailing.

Oscar Feldenkreis, president and chief operating officer of PEI, said of the suit deal, “This agreement follows our plan to make women’s clothing a major component of the Perry Ellis brand.”

John Ward, president of European Design’s DHG Inc. subsidiary and a former Leslie Fay Cos. chief executive, explained, “We see two distinct price points between Perry Ellis Portfolio and Perry Ellis, consistent with the brands’ positioning. Both will be modern and upscale in attitude.”

Miami-based PEI has been on an expansion run in the women’s area this year. This spring it launched a better-priced women’s sportswear line at retail and in April it brought in Patrick Robinson to serve as creative director for the line.

PEI executives have sketched out aggressive growth plans for the brand, planning to grow distribution from an expected 500 retail doors — primarily department stores — to more than 800 stores by spring 2004. PEI last year recorded earnings of $10.8 million on sales of $305.8 million.

European Design Group, a 13-year-old company, has previously concentrated on manufacturing private label merchandise for moderate-priced stores.

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