HALSTON ASSETS ARE ACQUIRED BY NEEMA
Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio
NEW YORK — Halston Newco LLC said Friday that Neema Clothing Ltd., a men’s private label tailored clothing company, had purchased all the assets of Halston.
“This will help us keep the direction of the business on track,” said Nicholas J. DeMarco, who will continue as Halston’s president and chief executive officer.
Halston will operate as a separate company, under Neema International’s umbrella, he said.
In an unrelated move, Kevan Hall, design director for Halston’s Signature Collection, said Friday that his relationship with Halston “has terminated.” Hall, who was hired in July 1998 as a successor to Randolph Duke, could not be reached for comment.
Halston officials declined to comment about Hall’s departure, but said they would announce his successor today.
Halston’s move to find a strategic partner was expected. In June, the company hired Peter J. Solomon, a strategic investment firm, to explore growth options. The sale of the company was one of them, according to DeMarco.
The Halston trademark had previously been owned by the Catterton Group, which purchased the assets from Tropic Tex International in July 1998.
Neema Clothing, which reportedly generated $50 million in sales last year, was created in 1991 by James J. Ammeen through his acquisition of Sportsclothes Ltd., a 50-year-old manufacturer of private label clothing. The firm is now positioned for growth in the bridge and better designer categories, creating a natural fit for Halston, according to company officials. “With the increased demand for luxury products, we see tremendous potential in this partnership,” said Ammeen in a statement. He was in the Far East Friday and unavailable for further comment.
Halston said it would develop a men’s clothing collection for spring 2001. The company is looking for licensing partners to develop men’s sports jackets and accessories, DeMarco said.
Simultaneously, Halston plans to launch a women’s designer sportswear collection. It will have the same distribution as the Halston Signature line, the most expensive of the company’s three women’s labels, DeMarco said.
The other divisions are Halston, a better-to-bridge line, and Halston Designer, a lower-priced designer line.
DeMarco said four new licensing agreements for Halston would be announced in the next 60 days. Categories include watches, handbags, bridge and designer dresses, and leather coats and sportswear.
Halston headquarters will remain at 530 Seventh Avenue.