LIQUIDATOR HIRED FOR JOAN & DAVID STORES

Byline: Vicki M. Young

NEW YORK — Maxwell Shoe Corp. has hired The Ozer Group to conduct store-closing liquidations in 21 Joan & David shoe stores.
As reported, Maxwell Shoe Corp. on Oct. 12 purchased the operating assets of the footwear and ready-to-wear manufacturer, including the Joan & David trademarks, in a Manhattan bankruptcy court auction. The court approved the $16.8 million purchase on Oct. 13, following Joan & David’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection earlier this year.
The store-inventory liquidations began on Oct. 14 for the 14 Joan & David boutique stores and 7 Joan & David outlets located in 12 states and the District of Columbia.
In a conference call Wednesday, executives from Maxwell Shoe Corp. said the $16.8 million purchase price was divided between $9.6 million for the trademarks and the lease at 4 West 58th Street — which houses the two-floor showroom — and $7.2 million for other assets, including inventory. The footwear company’s purchase did not include store leases, department-store concession contracts, warehouse lease or inventory located in the United Kingdom and Spain.
The new owners of the bankrupt firm expect to offer Joan & David product to the market in February 2001, with delivery to retailers in early fall of 2001.
The firm stated it has not determined whether or not it will employ current Joan & David employees in the future. During the call, there was no mention of the fate of Joan and David Helpern, who founded and owned the firm. Joan Helpern designed the product line. Executives at Maxwell, a footwear firm, also did not mention what their plans were for the Joan & David ready-to-wear line, but noted the licensing opportunities available to the brand.
Mark Cocozza, chairman and chief executive officer of Maxwell, said: “This acquisition is consistent [with] our long-term strategy of acquiring brands that extend our portfolio.” He referred to the Joan & David brand as having an “identity that is polished, distinctly understated, but very tasteful.”
The acquisition, Cocozza said, will expand Maxwell’s distribution to more upscale channels. “It has very high brand esteem, allowing for higher margins and licensed opportunities.”
The boutiques are located in Washington, D.C.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Atlanta; Chicago; Boston and Chestnut Hill, Mass.; Troy, Mich.; New York; Dallas; Houston; Arlington and McLean, Va.; and Seattle. The outlet sites are located in Cabazon and St. Helena, Calif.; Amagansett and Central Valley, N.Y.; Flemington and Secaucus, N.J., and Manchester, Va.

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