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Liz Claiborne to sell eponymous brand

Fashion group Liz Claiborne has agreed to sell of its eponymous brand to American department store group J.C. Penney in a move to focus on the business’ Kate Spade, Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture brands.

According to reports the transaction is part of a series of deals that will raise $328m (£209m) to pay down debt. Last month it was announced that Liz Claiborne had signed a deal to sell off the majority of its Mexx brand to private equity firm The Gores Group for around $85m (£53m).

As part of the $267.5m (£170.2mm) deal J.C.Penney will also acquire fashion-jewellery brand Monet. It will own the domestic and international trademark rights for Liz Claiborne, Claiborne, Liz, Liz & Co., Concepts by Claiborne, LC, Elisabeth, LizGolf, LizSport, Liz Claiborne New York and Lizwear. The Liz Claiborne group will change its corperate name within a year.

Additionally the group has completed the sale of its womenswear brand Dana Buchmand to American department store chain Kohl’s Corp and sold its Kensie brands to Bluestar Alliance, a brand management and financial services company for $40m (£25m). Liz Claiborne has also agreed to end its DKNY Jeans and DKNY Active license at the end of this year, a year before it had previously been planned.

Claiborne chief executive officer William L. McComb said: “At a time when most economists are calling an imminent recession in the U.S. and Europe, the kind of leverage that our company had cannot and will not be tolerated by Wall Street…The amount of money we were paying the banks for the loans, it was too much money.

MComb said the remaining brands have growth potential with room to expand into new channels, countries and product categories.

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