Building on its $800 million women’s jeanswear business, Jones Apparel Group Inc. is set to make its first big push into the men’s denim market. The company will today unveil a licensing and distribution agreement to launch men’s jeans and related sportswear under various Andrew Marc labels owned by G-III Apparel Group Ltd.

This story first appeared in the May 20, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The first product under the agreement will be shown to retailers in August and will be in stores in the fourth quarter of this year.

“Jones’ jeanswear division has emerged as a leader in the industry over the past few years, and we look forward to mirroring the success of our women’s platform in the men’s wear marketplace,” said Jack Gross, chief executive officer of Jones Jeanswear Group.

This is Jones’ first foray into men’s denim, apart from a small test of its L.E.I. brand in the men’s space at Wal-Mart about a year and a half ago, which did not move forward, as L.E.I. was too female-centric, said Gross.

Jones will launch the Andrew Marc business with a new, youthful sublabel called Marc Moto, a Rebel Division of Andrew Marc. (That full phrase will appear on labels and hangtags.) The line is targeted at department stores such as Macy’s, Dillard’s, Bon-Ton and Belk. Jones expects it to be in about 500 doors by holiday.

In the second half of 2011, a higher-end denim and related sportswear collection will be introduced under the flagship Andrew Marc brand, which is targeted at top-tier stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Another collection, under the Marc New York label, which is priced between the other two, will also make its debut next year at department stores.

Marc Moto jeans will retail from $49 to $79 and tops for $24 to $49. The lineup will include denim, casual pants, shorts, jackets, T-shirts, woven and knit tops and jackets. Andrew Marc jeans are planned at $120 to $175, while Marc New York jeans will sell for $80 to $98.

The Andrew Marc brand, which is known primarily for outerwear, is sold at better department and specialty stores, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Marc New York label is available at department stores and specialty retailers including Macy’s and Lord & Taylor.

This will be the fifth license category for Andrew Marc, which was acquired by G-III in 2008 from Gordon Brothers. Other license categories include women’s shoes, women’s handbags, men’s accessories and men’s cold-weather items. “Our objective is to make Andrew Marc a true lifestyle brand,” said Wayne Miller, chief operating officer of G-III, which produces Andrew Marc outerwear and dress categories in-house.

Andrew Marc did about $75 million in wholesale sales in 2008, when G-III acquired it, but Miller declined to update that figure as the publicly traded company does not break down sales by brand.

Jones Apparel Group’s jeanswear business in women’s currently encompasses 12 brands, including the owned Gloria Vanderbilt and L.E.I. labels, which are its biggest volume labels, as well as the licensed Jessica Simpson label. Other brands include Glo, Nine West Denim, BandolinoBlu and its denim-friendly knitwear brand, Energie, which is housed within the jeans division.

Jones Jeanswear also manufactures denim product for over a dozen major private label programs, including Style & Co. and Charter Club at Macy’s, Sonoma at Kohl’s and Just My Size at Wal-Mart.

In the first quarter of 2010, the jeanswear division posted sales of $221 million, down from $231 million in the year ago quarter. For the full year, Jones Apparel Group expects jeanswear revenue of between $780 million and $820 million.

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