Byline: David Moin

NEW YORK — In a move to strengthen its position in the better and designer markets, Certified Fashion Guild has acquired the Betty Cohn buying office, which for 45 years has catered to carriage-trade retailers.
“It’s a gem of a business,” said Paul Kaess, Certified’s president and chief executive officer. “Our stores are very good — some of the most exclusive stores around the country,” said Betty Cohn. She cited Julian Gold in San Antonio and Linton’s in Pittsburgh. “We buy more exclusively. This will bring Certified another direction.”
The Certified buying office, at 1440 Broadway, will combine Cohn’s office into its three-year-old CFG Better division. The division is currently run by Gregor Simmons, vice president and principal, but she will share responsibilities with Cohn.
Cohn’s buying office, based at 225 West 34th St., has a staff of 15, most of whom will also join Certified, Kaess said.
The unit will be renamed Betty Cohn-Simmons.
The move, expected to take place around Jan. 15, will bring about 70 better-to-designer priced stores to CFG Better, which has about 100 better retail clients, Kaess added.
“Out of the 170 clients, there are just three territorial conflicts,” Kaess said. “The meld was wonderful.”
“Certified has never been known in the better business,” Kaess said. “It’s always been earmarked as a moderate office, but Certified will be nothing more than a financial arm for Betty Cohn-Simmons.”
The services offered include market direction, escorting buyers to showrooms and resources, fashion presentations and sales and inventory planning.
Certified’s last acquisition was in 1989 when it acquired the Dean Hayward off-price office from Lee Mandelbaum, Kaess said.

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