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Juicy Couture to Open N.A. Units in 2015

The stores will feature a new concept for the retail operation.

The Juicy Couture brand is set to open a series of stores in 2015 in North America that will feature a new concept for the retail operation.

Authentic Brands Group, the owner of the Juicy brand, said the stores will be in key, high-traffic sites such as New York City, Los Angeles and Vancouver. The new locations will replace the existing Juicy stores in the U.S., which are being phased out by Juicy’s previous owner.

The new concept will feature the “world of Juicy,” and is more representative of ABG’s vision for the brand’s future. As reported in WWD, the concept will feature a store layout showcasing merchandise by category, giving the site a department store feel to the retail space.

Juicy stores overseas will continue their expansion pace with retail partners in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Nearly 200 international sites are in operation, and another 127 stores and shops-in-shop are expected to open over the next five years.

The current merchandise offerings are part of the brand’s Black Label Collection, available worldwide. The Collection is set to include expanded offerings in intimates, girl’s and footwear. ABG last week said it entered into a long-term partnership with Steven Madden Ltd. for footwear.

Also on the horizon is the opening of freestanding stores for girl’s and intimates overseas. In addition, ABG will soon relaunch juicycouture.com to give consumers worldwide better access to the e-commerce platform.

ABG acquired the intellectual property assets of the Juicy brand last year for $195 million from Fifth & Pacific Cos. Inc., now Kate Spade & Co., in an all-cash transaction. As part of the transaction, Fifth & Pacific entered into a short-term licensing agreement with ABG so it could effect an orderly transition of the business, including selling inventory at full price to capture margins at its freestanding Juicy stores in the U.S. Those stores are currently being shuttered as part of the wind down of the business under Fifth & Pacific’s ownership.

Some media reports last week had the shuttering of the stores sounding the death knell for the brand in the U.S., particularly since the brand seemed to have suffered an identity crisis since its founders left the business in January 2010.

Juicy Couture was founded in 1995 by Gela Nash-Taylor and Pamela Skaist-Levy, and its signature fashionable tracksuit fueled rapid growth and expansion. The brand was acquired by Fifth & Pacific, then known as Liz Claiborne Inc., in 2003 for an undisclosed amount. Financial sources and Wall Street analysts at the time estimated the deal value at $100 million, which included an up-front payment of $39 million and the balance at the back end in the form of earnouts, provided certain targets were met.

Since ABG’s acquisition, the brand management firm has ramped up its Juicy operations that include partnering with Li & Fung Ltd.’s Global Brands Group for the design and manufacture of apparel, Folli Follie Group for the exclusive wholesale and retail distribution right for the brand in Europe, and new licensing deals in addition to Steven Madden for footwear. Those include Elizabeth Arden for fragrance; Movado for watches; Safilo for eyewear; Contour for tech accessories, and Swimwear Anywhere for swimwear.