NEW YORK — VF Corp. said Thursday that it was in talks to sell the John Varvatos business to its designer and namesake.

VF had acquired the Varvatos brand as part of its August acquisition of Nautica Enterprises Inc. The potential sales price for the men’s wear designer line was not disclosed.

Eric Wiseman, chairman of Greensboro, N.C.-based VF’s sportswear coalition, said the unit plans to focus on growing its larger businesses.

“We believe the best use of our sportswear coalition resources is to focus on the continued development of the Nautica and Earl Jean brands,” he said in a statement.

Varvatos also said that he looks forward “to finalizing the purchase agreement.” The potential purchase price was not disclosed.

Nautica launched the Varvatos line in 2000, and the brand plans to show its first women’s collection for fall. While revenues for the line have not been disclosed, Nautica’s annual report last year said the brand was sold in about 85 retail locations, which would make it a drop in the bucket for VF, which has sales in excess of $5 billion and sells its brands in thousands of retail doors around the world.

This story first appeared in the January 9, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.