NEW YORK — Michael Kors Inc. said Thursday that it would pull the plug on the Michael Michael Kors men’s sportswear collection, effective May 1.

Kors launched the collection of better-priced men’s and women’s apparel for fall 2004, with distribution aimed at department stores. The move to cease the men’s production will have no impact on the women’s Michael Michael Kors line, which will continue.

“Clearly, the [men’s] business was not as successful as we had hoped, and after a lot of analysis, we found that the company’s heritage and our performance seems to be best when we focus on luxury goods,” said John Idol, chief executive officer of Michael Kors Inc.

Michael Michael Kors’ men’s sportswear is available in about 250 doors, including Macy’s, Marshall Field’s, Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor. The plan is to focus resources on developing the men’s designer Michael Kors Collection label, which is sold in stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s.

“You have to focus on the things you do best,” Idol said. “We felt that was reason enough for us to spend our time and energies on building that part of the business.”

Idol added that one of the reasons the better men’s line wasn’t as successful was because men’s areas in department stores are typically more promotional. “That’s not something we do well as a company,” he said. “Also, it takes a much longer time to build a men’s brand … Michael has a history and heritage in the women’s business.”

While Idol conceded there were some initial problems with the women’s Michael Michael Kors collection, he said business was now solid, pointing to the shoe and handbag categories as successes. Michael Michael Kors women’s sportswear is distributed in about 400 doors.

This story first appeared in the October 21, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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