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Claiborne to restructure, cut as many as 800 jobs

The apparel maker may sell 16 brands and will refocus its effort on profitable labels.

July 12, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Liz Claiborne Inc. plans to cut 600 to 800 jobs and is considering whether to sell 16 brands in an effort to cut costs and focus on profitable fashion lines.

Under the restructuring plan announced Wednesday, the apparel designer and marketer expects to save $100 million in 2008 and an additional $90 million over the following two years.

It plans to cut 7% to 9% of its nonretail based global workforce, including senior positions.

The brands under review account for about $800 million of its projected annual sales of $5 billion.

"We are at a turning point," Chief Executive William L. McComb said at an investor conference. "Everything we do will be centered on one key principle: building powerful brands."

The company will separate its brands into two operating segments.

Its retail-based direct-brand segment, which the company said should generate about $2.2 billion in revenue in 2007, includes Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, Lucky Brand Jeans and Mexx brands.

McComb plans to focus on those four brands and expects them to account for $3 billion in sales by 2010 as the company expands its marketing effort and adds stores in the United States and abroad.

The second segment will be its wholesale-based partnered brand group that includes its Liz Claiborne brands, DKNY Jeans group, Monet brands and its cosmetics brands. The company expects its partnered brands to have about $2.8 billion in revenue, including $800 million in revenue from brands under strategic review.

Liz Claiborne said it was reviewing its strategic alternatives, which include selling, discontinuing or licensing, for the brands C&C California, Dana Buchman, Ellen Tracy, Emma James, Enyce, First Issue, Intuitions, J.H. Collectibles, Kensie, Laundry by Design, Mac & Jac, prAna, Sigrid Olsen, Stamp 10, Tapemeasure and Tint.

Only two weeks ago, company founder Liz Claiborne died at age 78 after a long illness. She had launched her label with her husband, Art Ortenberg, and two partners in 1976 and took the company public in 1981.

In fiscal 2007, the company expects adjusted earnings of $1.90 to $2 a share, compared with a previous forecast of $1.90 to $2.05 a share, with adjusted net sales expected to be flat to down in the low single digits from last year.

Analysts are expecting a profit of $2.06 a share for the year, according to a Thomson Financial poll.

The guidance excludes 6 cents in costs in the first quarter and 14 cents to 16 cents in costs related to the restructuring. Guidance also excludes any additional costs or additional income or expenses related to its strategic review of its brands.

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