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Iconix Forms Latin America Unit, Lauds Home Brands

New Venture to Direct Licensing in Mexico, Caribbean, Central and South America

Iconix Brand Group has formed Iconix Latin America, a "traditional licensing business" in the form of a joint venture with New Brands Americas LLC, a unit of luxury brand and duty-free store operator Falic Group.

Iconix said the new venture will direct licensing in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. The terms deliver a 50% interest in the joint venture to New Brands in exchange for $6 million "plus other commitments." New Brands "will also have an option to purchase rights to future brands acquired by Iconix," the company noted.

Falic Group owns Duty Free Americas, with more than 150 duty free shops in major airports and border crossings, the company said. Falic also owns the House of Christian Lacroix and various fragrance and cosmetics brands, and holds licenses and international distribution rights for a range of upscale brands.

On another front, Neil Cole, chairman, president and ceo of Iconix, in his presentation at the 11th annual Integrated Corporate Relations XChange Conference here, said its home brands will be a "growth story" in 2009, spearheaded by Cannon and Waverly.

"We will be rolling out Cannon as a [direct-to-retailer or DTR] relation with Sears Holdings, and we went with Sears 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 home 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.

That business is soon to be boosted with extensions into home by existing Iconix 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.

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