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New name for famous US retail group

Corporate apparel retailer Liz Claiborne Inc is changing its name as part of a repositioning of the company and its three fashion brands and a prelude to “global expansion”.

The listed US business will become Fifth & Pacific Companies to “better communicate its strategic focus” on growing its three global lifestyle brands Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and Lucky Brand and to reflect the sale of the Liz Claiborne namesake brand to JC Penney.

The change is expected to be effective on or about May 15, at which time the company will begin trading on the stock exchange as Fifth & Pacific Companies, (NYSE: FNP).

“While it’s difficult to replace an iconic name like Liz Claiborne, we believe that Fifth & Pacific Companies telegraphs who we are today – taking inspiration from New York and California, while describing our reach and our potential,” said CEO William L McComb.

“From New York to Los Angeles to Shanghai and beyond, our intrinsically American brands have global appeal, serving customers worldwide with high quality and imaginative product.

“With the steps we’ve taken, the new Fifth & Pacific Companies is financially stronger, with a healthy balance sheet and significantly reduced operating risk and complexity. Moreover, we are anchored by three, high-growth retail-based brands with significant expansion potential in global markets, spanning multiple product categories. In short, ours is a momentum portfolio, poised for growth and global expansion,” said McComb.

Under the Liz Claiborne moniker, the business was primarily focused on serving department stores. In the future it will morph into a direct-to-consumer retailer built around “three highly distinctive premium brands with global appeal”.

“Today, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade and Lucky Brand offer high growth and high margin opportunities in the US, as well as abroad,” said McComb, who explains the decision in a presentation screened on YouTube.

“Moreover, in the past year the company completed five transactions that raised $471 million and allowed for significant debt reduction.”

In addition to the core brands, the new Fifth & Pacific will continue to operate its private brand jewellery design and development group and will continue to market brands through department stores as well as serve JCPenney via an exclusive license for Liz Claiborne and Monet jewelry lines and Kohl’s with a license for Dana Buchman jewellery.

The company also maintains an 18.75 per cent stake in Mexx, the European apparel and accessories retail-based brand.

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