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Criminal breaks into footwear as Lambert Howarth wins licence

Footwear supplier Lambert Howarth has secured the licence to design and distribute the first footwear range for directional streetwear brand Criminal.
A capsule range of men’s and women’s footwear will be tested in a few stores, including Criminal’s Covent Garden flagship in London, for spring 08. A full collection of Criminal footwear and accessories, including bags, belts and small leather goods, will then launch for autumn 08.

Lambert Howarth issued a profit warning in May and said it needed additional funds to avoid breaching its banking covenants.

The Criminal deal is one of five new licences that Lambert Howarth has lined up to spearhead its recovery. It has also recently signed licences for Radley and Pringle footwear.

However, it lost its licence for French Connection footwear, which was awarded to Kurt Geiger (Drapers, August 18). The Criminal deal is expected to help plug the gap left by the loss of French Connection and also marks the first deal Lambert Howarth has struck with Baugur, which acquired Criminal in 2006.

Lambert Howarth group chief executive Pamela Harper said: “Criminal is a directional and exciting brand in the affluent youth market. Our international sales team is gearing up for this major launch.”
Lambert Howarth would not comment on additional licences, but it is understood to have inked a deal with at least one US label to grow its overseas distribution.

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