Shares of Kate Spade & Co. fell 14.7 percent Tuesday as investors worried over reports that the company needs more time to negotiate a sale.
Final bids for Kate Spade were due last week. And while Coach Inc. is believed to have submitted an offer, sources said the firm continues to be in contact with Michael Kors Holdings Ltd., although that company is not believed to have made a bid.
Investors seem to have been counting on a deal and sent the stock down $3.34 to $19.46, leaving Kate Spade with a market capitalization of $2.5 billion. Financial sources said the firm has been looking to sell for close to $3 billion.
Coach and Kors have been rumored to be interested in a Kate Spade deal since at least last year, when activist investor Caerus Investors pushed the accessories brand favored by Millennial women to put itself up for sale.
While Kate Spade’s future path is being decided in the board room, with regular commentary from Wall Street, the rest of the company has kept busy burnishing the brand’s image by expanding its personalized offerings.
The latest effort comes with the launch of Make it Mine, a set of convertible handbags. Kate Spade is offering two classic handbags styles — the birdie cross-body and lady-like Candace satchel — and customizes each style to create a personalization experience.
Customers can choose from a selection of interchangeable coverings, a “flap” for the birdie or a “wrap” for the Candace, that come in a variety of colors and prints, which can be switched to complement one’s mood or outfit.
Flaps and wraps are available in various styles: smooth leather in a number of hues, glitter, patterns, such as stripes and florals, and luxe textures like shearling or flannel. They are easy to attach and secure once they’re on.
“We’ve gotten really positive reaction,” said Deborah Lloyd, president and chief creative officer of Kate Spade New York.
She said the bags are just starting to go into the brand’s freestanding stores, “and women are loving the options and the interchangeable ways.” In addition to the interchangeable coverings, they’re also adding customized straps, tassels and key rings.
Mary Beech, chief marketing officer of Kate Spade & Co., said the customized bags went into 10 freestanding stores in March and that there will be a full roll-out to all Kate Spade stores this month. Beech noted that the stores created a special work space in the front where customers spend time with the concept. Kate Spade New York has 98 full-price freestanding stores in the U.S.
The Kate Spade Personalization shop launched for holiday 2016 with the Give it a Twist! Program, which offered possibilities for customization such as stickers and patches, straps and tassels, charms and other items.
The Make it Mine bags are available in select Kate Spade New York stores and katespade.com, this month. The Make it Mine birdie and Candace bags will retail for $328 and $398, respectively, with flaps and wraps ranging from $58 to $198. A third bag will be added by year-end, which is a smaller cross-body bag.
Last year, Kate Spade acquired the intellectual property and related business assets of the Bag Bar business from D.H. Deesigns LLC, which is headed by founder Dee Ocleppo Hilfiger. Bag Bar was an accessories brand that offered customers the ability to add interchangeable covers and accessories to classic handbags.
In another new initiative at the company, Kate Spade New York is entering the wall decor business. Created in collaboration with Wendover Art Group, the more than 70-piece collection offers bold abstracts, movie catchphrases, sophisticated sketches and landscapes with prices ranging from $150 to $1,495.
“Wall decor is a natural extension for Kate Spade New York — it’s the icing on the cake for every story we tell, from interiors to fashion,” Lloyd said.