NEW YORK — Candie’s has decided another name might be sweeter.

In a sure sign of its strategy to be taken more seriously as a brand management company, Candie’s Inc. will change its name to the Iconix Brand Group Inc.

As of July 1, the company will trade on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker symbol ICON instead of CAND. Neil Cole, chairman and chief executive officer of the soon-to-be Iconix, has made clear his plans to shift Candie’s from a footwear and apparel manufacturer to a portfolio of brands.

Candie’s owns its signature label as well as Bongo and Badgley Mischka — all of which are licensed in a broad range of categories to retailers, wholesalers and distributors worldwide. In a telephone interview Friday, Cole said the company was in search of other “great consumer brands” at a variety of price points. He said there were a lot of opportunities; he declined to be more specific.

“The word Iconix symbolizes our goal of owning a strong and diversified portfolio of many leading brands,” Cole said in a statement. “The proliferation of low-cost overseas manufacturing and retail consolidation is changing the traditional supply chain model. Our goal is to create strategic alliances with retailers and suppliers worldwide and add value to this network through our expertise in marketing and merchandising.”

A new corporate Web site with updated information about the company and its brand portfolio will be posted at Iconixbrand.com.

Candie’s will continue to be used as a footwear brand name, but the change on the corporate level is bittersweet for Cole. In the early Eighties, his late father, Charles, and his brother Kenneth changed their footwear company’s name to Candie’s. They initially saw the name printed on the upper of a shoe they purchased from the Lucca area of Italy, said Neil Cole, who joined the family business in 1982 after earning his law degree at Hofstra University.

“This is a little like breaking away from my past. But on the other side, it shows what a new business we have, and we can create more,” Neil Cole said.

The Candie’s name fit the flashy Eighties — an era known for discos, designer jeans and disproportionate hairstyles. But two decades later, the company decided it was time to redefine itself. After struggling for months to come up with a new name, Candie’s hired an outside firm to do a name search and Iconix was the result.

This story first appeared in the June 27, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We wanted something that would reflect a diverse group of hopefully many brands,” Cole said.

The switch did not require any approval. “My brother is doing OK with his own business,” Cole said with a laugh.

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