January 4, 2012, 12:13 PM

Liz Claiborne’s new name unites U.S. fashion centers

Fifth & Pacific Companies reflects New York and California designs.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

William McComb, CEO, Liz Claiborne Inc.

Liz Claiborne Inc. is changing its name to Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc., effective around May 15. The new handle aims to sharpen the company’s strategic focus on growing its three global lifestyle brands—Juicy Couture, kate spade and Lucky Brand—and reflects the sale of the Liz Claiborne brand to J.C. Penney, among other recent transactions.

Penney spent $267.5 million to acquire the global rights to Liz Claiborne brand names. Liz Claiborne is No. 340 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. The deal included branding rights for Monet, a Claiborne jewelry brand. Penney (No. 20) and Liz Claiborne signed a branding deal in August 2010, but the new deal accelerated the timeline and added in Monet.

The new company name marks the next step in the company’s transition from primarily serving department stores to reaching shoppers through its own stores and online, and building around three brands with global appeal, the company says. In the past year the company completed five transactions that raised $471 million and helped reduce debt.

“With the steps we’ve taken, the new Fifth & Pacific Companies is financially stronger, with a healthy balance sheet and significantly reduced operating risk and complexity,” says CEO William L. McComb. “Moreover, we are anchored by three high-growth, retail-based brands with significant expansion potential in global markets, spanning multiple product categories. In short, ours is a momentum portfolio, poised for growth and global expansion.”

The company’s new stock symbol, NYSE: FNP, also is expected to become effective on or about May 15.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2011, ended Oct. 1, Liz Claiborne reported:

  • Total sales were about $1.11 billion, a 7.6% decrease from about $1.20 billion in the prior year period. The company did not break out online sales.
  • Net loss was $400.9 million, compared with a net loss of $221.3 million in the first nine months of 2010.

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