Kohl's adds Nine West to growing millennial-focused assortment
Kohl's plans to bring footwear, handbags and outerwear from Nine West to its stores starting in July of next year, the companies said in a press release Tuesday.
The partnership is also set to include a new Nine West women's apparel collection for Kohl's, according to a press release from the companies. In June, Authentic Brands Group scooped up the Nine West brand, along with Bandolino, for more than $340 million at a bankruptcy auction.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday ABG also announced the appointment of Daniel Dienst, who most recently led a turnaround for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia ahead of its sale two years ago, as the brand licensing company's new executive vice chairman and chief strategy officer.
ABG has wasted little time working to revive Nine West. After snapping up the troubled brand a little over a month ago, the brand development company promised new key partnerships and a merchandising expansion that would include sportswear, outerwear, swimwear, intimates, fragrance, sleepwear and home.
Kohl's, a discount department store that, thanks to its freestanding locations, is mostly free of the troubles that are vexing malls, appears to be its first choice out of the gate. The companies' announcement comes as Kohl's provided fresh rationale for ABG's move, as the department store chain's Q2 performance outpaced expectations in several metrics.
For Kohl's, Nine West furthers a merchandising upgrade that is ongoing, and working. Partnerships with Lego and FAO Schwarz and its exclusive LC Lauren Conrad denim, Simply Vera Vera Wang and Urban Pipeline brands are all generating shopper interest, according to GlobalData Retail Managing Director Neil Saunders. In September, the retailer also plans to launch a collaboration with media platform PopSugar, a millennial favorite with a global audience of 100 million readers, according to investment research firm Jane Hali & Associates.
ABG President and Chief Marketing Officer Nick Woodhouse said in a statement that the company is "confident that Kohl's is the right destination to deliver on the Nine West brand promise."
The partnership is one example of the life after liquidation that awaits some of the best failed retail brands. Nine West went into bankruptcy earlier this year, crippled by debt after the leveraged buyout of The Jones Group. If a buyer or creditors had seen more value in Nine West as an operating retailer, it may well have emerged from Chapter 11 as such. But that didn't happen. Instead, ABG added Nine West and Bandolino to its quickly growing stable of brands, whose products are made by third-party licensees.
With Dienst's arrival, meanwhile, more upgrade efforts from ABG are likely forthcoming. Working closely with ABG CEO Jamie Salter and its M&A team, he will help shape the company's long-term strategy, lead its global business development, help drive its corporate focus on media, digital strategy and content monetization, according to the company.
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