NEW YORK — Kate Spade & Co. is stepping on the gas pedal in its drive to become a global lifestyle brand.
The $1.14 billion apparel and accessories company has signed new deals in the women’s, kids and home categories, along with an arrangement with Magnolia Bakery.
The brand has hit some big road bumps, recording a $53.6 million loss from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2015, while sales rose 14.2 percent to $255.3 million. It also has closed its Kate Spade Saturdays and Jack Spade retail units. The company has been faced with weakness in the overall industry and its stock has taken a big hit, along with Michael Kors and Coach. On Friday, the shares closed up 0.6 percent to $21.33.
To further spur growth, and perhaps lessen dependence on its core handbag business, Spade is developing a slew of new categories. One is fitness apparel, where Spade is collaborating with Beyond Yoga to create a limited-edition ath-leisure collection for spring 2016. The Kate Spade New York and Beyond Yoga collection will be sold at select regional and specialty stores, boutique studio locations and on katespade.com and beyondyoga.com.
Mary Beech, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Kate Spade & Co., called the new line “a thoughtful expansion of our lifestyle offerings.” Each item in the 16-piece collection incorporates the details and bright colors that Kate Spade is known for, along with Beyond Yoga’s fabrics and body-conscious silhouettes. The lineup includes peek-a-boo bras wholesaling for $38, halter-bow camis for $48, leggings ranging from $45 to $54, and a neck-bow jacket for $81.
The Kate Spade New York children’s collection, including kids, baby and layette, is being introduced for fall. The collection, licensed to Tawil Associates, includes sizes 3M-9M for layette, 6M- 24M for baby and sizes 7-14 for girls. It will be available at select Kate Spade New York boutiques, as well as online at katespade.com. Wholesale prices range from $22 to $44 for baby, and $19 to $74 for kids.
Overseas, Kate Spade Japan is also launching children’s wear for fall, including kids, baby and layette in partnership with Narumiya International.
Also launching for spring 2016 is Kate Spade New York sleepwear, in a licensing deal with Carole Hochman. The collection includes sleepwear and loungewear separates and sets, as well as a bridal capsule. Retail price points for short and long pajamas and separates are $48 to $98, chemise and gowns are $58-$98, and robes are $68 to $118. The collection will be distributed to department stores and specialty stores.
As for the deal with Magnolia Bakery, it will include a cupcake box tote, banana pudding crossbody bag, an illustrated tote and a cookbook clutch. The items will launch in October. The collection will be available at katespade.com, all Kate Spade New York shops in the U.S., and select Kate Spade New York shops internationally, including China, Japan, Mexico and the U.K.
Talking about the collection, Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade New York, said “the Kate Spade New York girl has a strong appetite for a novelty piece and a conversation starter.”
Further tapping into their customer’s home life, Kate Spade will offer a new kitchen accessories collection under the All in Good Taste label. In an expansion of its agreement with Lenox (which does Kate Spade New York tabletop), All in Good Taste will offer 116 pieces of cookware, dinnerware, flatware, glassware and gifts. The items contain clever idioms or bold patterns. Retail prices range from $7 to $120. All in Good Taste will be available next month exclusively at Macy’s, macys.com and on katespade.com in January. Spade is also coming out with a book in October called “All in Good Taste,” its third book with publisher Abrams.
The company also launched new partnerships for the home with DWI for bedding and bath; E.J. Victor for furniture; Kravet for fabric and wallpaper and Jaipur for rugs.
In his May earnings call with analysts, Craig Leavitt, chief executive officer of Kate Spade, called strategic partnerships “an important part of our overall strategy and are essential to our product category expansion axis of growth.” He said that driving the company’s licensing revenue “is a key objective in expanding our margin through a partnered approach.”
“We want to make sure that we always enter each product category in a really brand authentic way. I think that’s been part of the magic of being successful as we continue to roll out these new product categories,” said Leavitt.
To get its message across, Kate Spade’s fall ad campaign involves what the company is calling “a cast of modern heroines.” It features model Karlie Kloss, as well as artist Anh Duong, sex and relationships writer Karley Sciortino, singer Alice Smith and redheaded twins Juliet and Elise Marold. The men in the ads are jazz musician Jon Batiste and Alireza Niroomand, maître d’ of Sant Ambroeus. The campaign was shot by Emma Summerton in the Pierre Hotel.