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Kohl’s in Mudd Deal

Line to include apparel, accessories, jewelry.

The Mudd brand has found a new home.

Kohl’s Corp. and Mudd parent company Iconix Brand Group have reached a licensing agreement, making Kohl’s the brand’s exclusive retailer in the U.S. Under terms of the agreement, Kohl’s will take over responsibility for product design, manufacturing, production, distribution, sales and marketing of Mudd-branded apparel, accessories, jewelry and domestics. However, the deal excludes exclusive rights for Mudd footwear, estimated to be a $100 million business. Product under the new agreement will hit store shelves in July.

“We’re pleased the agreement with Iconix, one of our valued business partners, will enhance the Mudd brand’s presence in store and grow our portfolio of exclusive offerings,” said Don Brennan, senior executive vice president at Kohl’s.

The retailer has been carrying Mudd’s girls’ and juniors bottoms, footwear and jewelry. Kohl’s will look to expand the collection into a fully developed lifestyle concept, adding girls’ and juniors apparel, intimate apparel, sleepwear and accessories.

Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer of Iconix, said he hopes to replicate the success Kohl’s has had with Iconix’s Candie’s business.

“We have experienced the power of Kohl’s with our Candie’s exclusive license agreement, which has been expanded into over 30 product categories across the store,” Cole said.

Todd Slater, retail analyst with Lazard Capital Markets, praised the move as a way to foster the brand’s growth and offer consumers a price point below that of Candie’s.

“We believe this deal is positive for Iconix, as it creates a growth opportunity for a declining brand that needed a home,” Slater said in a report.

Slater added that Mudd had once been an estimated $200 million business with Kohl’s, but had “been on the decline for some time.”

“During recent Kohl’s channel checks…the only Mudd product in Kohl’s juniors department was found on a half rack of jeans, compared to the equivalent of seven full fixtures of Candie’s,” Slater said.