Hampshire Group Ltd. is expanding its business with Levi Strauss & Co.’s Dockers brand.
Hampshire, which already holds the license for Dockers men’s tops and sweaters in the U.S., Mexico and several markets in Central and South America, has been granted the rights to the brand for women’s tops and bottoms beginning in spring 2015 and extending through 2018. Hampshire will begin marketing Dockers women’s products in the U.S. in the spring of next year, with its territory expanding to include Mexico and Canada in the fall of 2015.
The license with Hampshire marks the first time that women’s Dockers products have been licensed to another firm.
“We look forward to working together to grow the volume and the brand equity of Dockers,” said Paul Buxbaum, chief executive officer of New York-based Hampshire. “We both know the potential of the brand in the women’s segment and together have already begun the efforts to realize that potential.”
As in 2011 and 2012, the Dockers brand accounted for about 12 percent of Levi’s net sales in 2013, putting its sales at about $560 million of Levi’s total revenues of $4.68 billion last year. Chip Bergh, president and ceo of Levi’s, told WWD in 2012 that the brand has “more than enough opportunity” to return to its peak sales level of about $1.2 billion. It has scored a number of successes in recent seasons with updated offshoots of the basic khaki pants on which the brand was built, such as the Alpha Collection and its newer Wellthread assortment, which emphasizes sustainable design and environmental practices. Dockers khakis are an element of the “profitable core” that Bergh has made among his top priorities in his two-and-a-half years as Levi’s ceo.
Hampshire has had the license for men’s sweaters under the Dockers label since 2003 and added Dockers woven and knit tops in 2012.