Brown Shoe Company, Inc. (NYSE:BWS)announced that it had reached agreement with Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation (NYSE:PVH) for an exclusive, long-term license to design, source and market footwear at wholesale under PVH's well-known Bass label. The arrangement is expected to become effective in early February.
"We are extremely enthusiastic about this new licensing partnership," said Bruce J. Klatsky, PVH Chairman and CEO. "We believe that Brown Shoe's expertise and passion for footwear design, and its leadership in footwear marketing, will allow us to further strengthen the Bass brand, and gain market share across key categories."
The Bass brand is known for its "easy American style" of penny loafers (Weejun's), outdoor shoes and boots for men, women and children. Founded in 1876 by George Henry Bass, the Bass label has legendary status in the footwear industry and a reputation for top-quality, heritage-inspired styles. Brown Shoe was founded just two years later in 1878, by George Warren Brown, and recently has experienced great success in revitalizing its Naturalizer and LifeStride brands.
"The Bass label is a terrific fit for us," said Brown Shoe Chairman and CEO Ron Fromm. "It strengthens our footwear brand portfolio, while leveraging our vast sourcing infrastructure and wholesale relationships with department stores and specialty stores. It also greatly strengthens our offering in branded men's footwear, and gives us an entry into the casual/outdoor categories. The Bass women's product will nicely complement our Naturalizer and LifeStride brands, while the Bass Kids label will add to our Buster Brown & Co. Kids' Division."
Brown Shoe will work closely with the Bass teams to ensure a smooth transition of the brand. Brown Shoe intends to show the Bass line at the WSA February footwear market in Las Vegas.
Under the terms of the long-term licensing agreement, Brown Shoe will design, source and market at wholesale Bass footwear worldwide. Brown Shoe also will operate the etailing website. PVH will continue to operate its Bass factory outlet stores, which sell apparel and accessories, as well as footwear.
Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation is the world's largest shirt company and one of the leading apparel and footwear companies. It markets goods under its own brands, Van Heusen, Calvin Klein, Izod, and G. H. Bass, and its licensed brands Geoffrey Beene, Arrow, Kenneth Cole New York, Reaction by Kenneth Cole and DKNY.
Brown Shoe is a $1.84 billion footwear company with worldwide operations. The company operates the 900-store Famous Footwear chain, which sells brand name shoes for less. It also operates 400 Naturalizer stores in the U.S. and Canada that sell the Naturalizer brand of shoes and accessories. Brown Shoe, through its Wholesale divisions, owns and markets leading footwear brands including Naturalizer, LifeStride, Connie, Buster Brown; it also markets licensed brands including Dr. Scholl's and Carlos by Carlos Santana for adults, and Barbie, Spider-Man and Bob-the-Builder character footwear for children. Brown Shoe press releases are available on the company's web site at www.brownshoe.com
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