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Kurt Geiger snaps up the licence for French Connection footwear

Footwear retailer Kurt Geiger has acquired the French Connection footwear licence as it attempts to inject a new revenue stream into the business.

The footwear licence for French Connection was previously operated by Lambert Howarth's Concept LH division. However, the four-year deal to design and produce footwear for the retailer ended this season.

Industry sources said Kurt Geiger will now sell French Connection footwear through its stores and concessions, while French Connection will also wholesale the product, according to sources. The licence was touted around the market since the relationship between French Connection and Lambert Howarth deteriorated last year, and players such as Shoe Studio Group are understood to have turned it down.

A French Connection spokeswoman told Drapers: "We are in talks with various suppliers. Nothing has been confirmed."

Kurt Geiger has also signed a licensing deal with lingerie brand Agent Provocateur to produce footwear, understood to have been brokered by former Concept LH chief executive Gary Hogarth, who left Lambert Howarth last year.

A spokeswoman for Agent Provocateur said: "We have done footwear before but never a licensing agreement. This will be a full eight-range collection, with 12 styles selling through selected Kurt Geiger concessions."

The boss of one high street footwear retailer said building a licensing arm made sense. "Kurt Geiger now has a luxury business, an overseas arm and a licensing business. If the retailer is ever sold it will be an attractive proposition. But you need the management infrastructure and there is a cost to licensing."

Kurt Geiger and Hogarth were both unavailable for comment.

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