LVMH REVEALS STAKE IN LICENSEE LE TANNEUR

Byline: David Moin

PARIS — The investment spree continues.
LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton disclosed Tuesday it had taken a stake in leather goods maker Le Tanneur & Cie., a week after the luxury giant announced it had signed a license with Le Tanneur for handbags and leather goods for Michael Kors.
In a statement, Le Tanneur said LVMH had acquired just over a third of the company last October via a capital increase, and that the leather house was planning an initial public offering by the middle of the year.
No further details were disclosed, nor was the size of the LVMH investment. LVMH declined to comment.
“Taking the company public will allow it to grow its own store network and speed international expansion, and therefore enhance the value of its brands,” the Le Tanneur statement said. The company’s brands include Le Tanneur, Soco, Upla and Tann’s. Kors accessories are set to hit stores for spring 2001.
Currently, Le Tanneur owns 14 stores and eight factory outlets.
For the year ended Oct. 31, 1999, Le Tanneur earned $1.06 million on sales of $31.7 million; dollar figures are converted from euros at current exchange rates. Sales were up 17.3 percent last year.
In other news, on Tuesday, LVMH, which has been investing heavily in Internet operations, said it has hired Eric Johnson as vice president of e-commerce customer experience for the company’s Selective Distribution Group.
The position is a new one at the group, which includes Sephora, Sephora.com, the DFS duty-free chain and two startup chains: Solstice, which sells sunglasses, and Synchrony, a watch store. LVMH is also developing a luxury site called Eluxury.com, and is a backer of Boo.com, which sells sportswear, and has an Internet investment arm called Europ@Web.
The group also operates Le Bon Marche, the Paris-based department store, and Miami Cruiseline Services, which provides duty-free goods to the cruise ships.
Johnson was co-chief creative officer for Viant Corp., a leading digital business builder and a strategic partner to LVMH in its development of e-commerce.
“His creative talent and expertise will be a key resource to our future success in the rapidly evolving world of e-commerce,” said Myron Ullman 3rd, group managing director of LVMH, in a statement.
At Selective Distribution, Johnson will advise on such matters as Web site design and functions making sites easy for consumers to navigate. He will report to Jim Wiggett, chief administrative officer of the group.

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