The Candie's Plan: Exclusive to Kohl's, to Launch Sportswear

Candie's will develop a junior sportswear and accessories line exclusively for Kohl's Department Stores.

with contributions from Vicki M. Young
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Neil Cole

Photo By Thomas Iannaccone

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Photo By WWD Staff

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Photo By WWD Staff

NEW YORK — Forget about those ads with Jenny McCarthy on her throne: Candie’s is toning down and going mainstream through an exclusive distribution arrangement with Kohl’s Corp.

The brand also is expanding with the introduction of junior sportswear and girls’ in all of Kohl’s stores next fall. Details of the agreement, first reported in WWD Tuesday, were laid out by Candie’s and Kohl’s executives Wednesday.

For Kohl’s, the move is in keeping with its recent push to offer its customers exclusive national brands, such as apt. 9, a private label that launched in women’s and men’s this fall; the more contemporary Daisy Fuentes collection, and cosmetics by Estée Lauder Cos.

“It’s a major initiative for us,” said Kohl’s president Kevin Mansell, who declined to offer revenue projections for the Candie’s collections and said many of the details of how the brand will be positioned are still being worked out.

“It’s an enormous opportunity and it goes well beyond apparel,” he said, pointing to home goods as a future possibility. “We clearly expect to grow the brand.”

Mansell said no brands would be eliminated to make way for Candie’s, but that some of the retailer’s junior offerings will be cut back to make room for the brand.

“I think it will be positioned to clearly be our premier brand statement in juniors’,” he said. “We see [Candie’s] as a way to reach new customers.”

The brand also offers Kohl’s yet another point of differentiation. “It’s a reason for customers to choose Kohl’s over someone else,” said Mansell of product that’s exclusive to the retailer.

Candie’s products will be carried by a number of specialty and department stores through the end of 2006; afterward the brand will be distributed exclusively through Kohl’s, which currently has 637 doors.

Under the terms of the license, which expires in January 2011 and gives Kohl’s the option to renew for up to three additional five-year terms, the retailer will pay Candie’s minimum average royalties of $8 million to $9 million annually.
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