JONES, NINE WEST WILL PAY $34 MILLION IN SETTLEMENT OF PRICE-FIXING CHARGES

NEW YORK — Jones Apparel Group and its Nine West Group Inc. subsidiary will pay $34 million to settle legal claims alleging that Nine West fixed prices in violation of antitrust laws by dictating to retailers which of its shoe styles could be discounted.
The settlement resolves ongoing investigations by the attorney generals of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam. The settlement was announced on Monday, the same day a lawsuit was filed in Manhattan federal court, and is subject to court approval.
The company on Monday also settled in a separate agreement an investigation of the same issue by the Federal Trade Commission. It remains subject to FTC approval.
Both agreements, which are without any admission of liability on the part of Nine West, include a consent decree in which the footwear firm has agreed to the manner in which it may implement its resale pricing policies with its retail customers.
Nine West sells footwear under brand names such as Nine West, Bandolino, Calico, Easy Spirit, Evan-Picone, Calvin Klein and Selby. The alleged price fixing occurred between January 1998 and July 1999. Under the terms of the settlements, the $34 million will cover up to $3.5 million in attorneys’ fees, with the balance to fund women’s health, educational and vocational programs.
Jacki Nemerov, president of Jones Apparel, said in a statement that the settlement will avoid substantial legal expense and management time. She added, “The $34 million payment will be recorded as additional goodwill relating to the Nine West acquisition and will not impact the company’s earnings expectations.”
Jones Apparel completed its acquisition of Nine West in June 1999.

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