KENNETH COLE GOES SOUTH

NEW YORK — The fast-growing Kenneth Cole empire is about to head south of the border.
Kenneth Cole Productions said Tuesday that it will launch its Kenneth Cole New York and Reaction Kenneth Cole brands in Latin America beginning this fall.
The strategy includes opening 25 freestanding Kenneth Cole stores within the next five years, with flagships slated for Venezuela, Mexico and Panama. It also plans to open and operate showrooms in Mexico and Panama to wholesale its products. The stores will include products for both men and women, including shoes and accessories.
The firm’s foray into Latin America will be overseen by Cole’s licensing partner, Times Square Productions, a distribution company based in Panama. The company is also planning an advertising and marketing campaign that will be tailored to each individual market.
Cole, which began in footwear, continues to aggressively add new offerings. Earlier this year, the firm introduced two sportswear lines under the signature and Reaction labels under license to Liz Claiborne, which owns about 7.4 percent of the publicly held company. Just last week, a deal was announced for Kenneth Cole fragrances and body products with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.