Byline: Thomas J. Ryan

NEW YORK — Liz Claiborne Inc. has acquired the trade names of JH Collectibles, a former rival in better sportswear, in a bankruptcy auction.
Samuel Miller, Claiborne’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the company paid “a little less than $3.8 million” for the names and a lease for an outlet store in Harriman, N.Y.
JH’s trade names, which include JH Collectibles and Junior House, and leases to its 30 outlet stores, were auctioned off Feb. 26 in Milwaukee bankruptcy court.
Miller said Claiborne has not yet decided what to do with the trade names.
“We have a number of things under consideration and really haven’t made a firm decision,” Miller said.
Sources said Jones Apparel Group also picked up leases for some outlet stores. Calls to Jones Apparel were not returned.
Lawyers for JH could not be reached for further comment.
JH, once a powerhouse in the better market with annual sales of about $100 million, has been looking to sell the company since filing for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 4. JH faced an ultimatum from its bankers — M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank and American National Bank of Chicago — to find a buyer or face liquidation.
JH has been out of production since December after not being able to finance spring orders.