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Jennifer Lopez Exits Apparel in the U.S.

Jennifer Lopez pulls the plug on her contemporary sportswear brand, Sweetface, after six years in business.

Jennifer Lopez is getting out of apparel in the U.S.

The performer is pulling the plug on her contemporary sportswear brand, Sweetface, after six years in business. The last collection, spring 2009, is in stores now, but there will be no further shipments.

“In light of some new company strategies, we have decided to put the Sweetface line on hiatus while we prepare to reintroduce the brand in the near future with new messaging points and an entirely new fashion point of view,” the company said Tuesday.

How and when that relaunch will take place was not revealed. With the shuttering of Sweetface, the only apparel-related businesses remaining in the U.S. for Lopez are her JLO by Jennifer Lopez branded costume jewelry, which Macy’s continues to carry, and the Victoria’s Secret catalogue carries the brand’s shoe collection. Each of those are produced under licensing agreements. The company also continues to do well with fragrances; there have been six scents launched with Coty Inc. to date, and a seventh is due to be introduced later this year.

The shuttering of Sweetface follows several years of struggle for all of Lopez’s apparel labels — and is in sharp contrast to the hype generated by her launch of the JLO brand in 2001 as one of the first celebrity fashion lines. Lopez heavily promoted the collection and even held fashion shows during New York Fashion Week in a bid to establish herself as a serious designer.

But while the collections sold well initially, they ran out of steam and have been rejiggered repeatedly over the last several years. In 2007, the company closed its JLO by Jennifer Lopez junior business in the U.S. and decided to only distribute the collection outside America. That business was replaced by a new line for the U.S. called justsweet, which closed in September after only a few seasons at retail. Company executives had planned to relaunch the JLO brand in the U.S. exclusively on ShopJLO.com in March, but that has yet to transpire.

As for Sweetface, it first launched as an urban streetwear spin-off to the JLO line in 2003 and soon after became a higher-end contemporary line selling to specialty retailers including Shopbop.com and Intermix. In 2006, the company was said to be bringing in about $200 million at retail, but things headed south soon after that.

Now Lopez — who was rarely seen wearing her own label — is banking that her fashion fame is higher overseas than in the U.S. Sweetface Fashion Co., the parent for Lopez’s stable of brands, still produces and distributes the JLO by Jennifer Lopez brand throughout 40 countries, where there are currently 38 freestanding stores operated under franchise.