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Iconix wins new retail positions with home brands   

New York – A “growth story” for Iconix Brand Group in 2009 will be its home business, which the brand marketing company said this year is spearheaded by Cannon and Waverly.

Neil Cole, chairman, president and ceo of Iconix, explained why the timing is right for the upcoming launch of the Cannon brand, during his presentation at the 11th annual Integrated Corporate Relations XChange Conference here.

“We will be rolling out Cannon as a [direct-to-retailer or DTR] relation with Sears Holdings, and why we went with Sears is because we saw a big void as their Martha Stewart license expires this year,” he said. “We see tremendous opportunity to increase the Cannon business, which is in the process of happening.”

Cole said Cannon kids and teen-oriented lines will debut this spring, along with along the core program.

As for Waverly, acquired last October, the brand injects Iconix into Lowe’s, JCPenney and Jo-Ann Fabrics – “new retailers for us,” Cole said, and will become its third program with Target (along with two Target exclusives, Fieldcrest and Mossimo).

Couple the Cannon and Waverly programs with Royal Velvet exclusively at Bed Bath & Beyond, and “we have a great little home division,” he continued.

And that is soon to be boosted with expansions into home for existing apparel brands later this year.

“We’re now starting to leverage some of our own brands, announcing Mossimo Home and OP Home [exclusive to Wal-Mart] going forward,” Cole said.

Iconix said its DTR brands are rapidly growing as a percentage of the portfolio. Reaching about 26% last year, the segment is projected to reach 50% in 2009.

Iconix started out with two brands and has grown rapidly over the past four years, adding 15 more to its portfolio, nearly all apparel-based. Looking ahead, acquisitions “remain an important part of our growth strategy” and the company said it expects more such opportunities to arise as “the industry consolidates.”

Iconix’s revenue guidance for 2009 is $225-$235 million, compared to its 2008 revenues of $215 million-$220 million.

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