Liz, Juicy, and Lucky are out and Kate is in at Kate Spade & Co., a designer and marketer of accessories and apparel under the kate spade new york, Kate Spade Saturday, and Jack Spade banners. The company operates about 170 specialty shops and outlet stores in the US and abroad, and also sells apparel and accessories online and to department stores. It also owns the Adelington Design Group and supplies JC Penney stores with the Liz Claiborne and Monet jewelry lines. Kate Spade & Co. narrowed its focus and took the name of its best performing brand after spinning off Juicy Couture and Lucky Brands. To reflect its mono-brand focus, the company (formerly Fifth & Pacific) changed its name in 2014.
New York-based Kate Spade & Company rings up about 95% of its sales in the US. The retailer operates about 130 specialty and outlet stores in the US and another 40 overseas, including about 30 locations in Japan.
The company has trimmed it operations from three premium global brands (Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand, and Kate Spade), each of which contributed roughly about a third of sales, to just one: Kate Spade.
The company's overall sales have been trending steeply downward in recent years due to asset sales to focus the business on the kate spade brand. Predecessor company Fifth & Pacific reported net sales of $1.26 billion in 2013, compared with $1.5 billion the prior year. However, sales increased for the KATE SPADE segment, partially offset by a decline in net sales within the Adelington Design Group and JUICY COUTURE segments. Indeed, sales of kate spade brand apparel and accessories rose 61% in 2013 versus 2012, to $743.2 million. The acquisition of Kate Spade Japan (in 2012) contributed $79.3 million in incremental sales year over year.
Despite the decline in overall sales as the company reorganized, net income rose to $73 million in 2013, following six consecutive years in the red. Cash flow used in operations was $24 million in 2013, versus positive cash flow of nearly $11.4 million in 2012.
Along with its February 2014 name change, the company named a new CEO, Craig Leavitt, who is looking to take the Kate Spade brand global. To that end, the company recently acquired its Southeast Asia distributor to facilitate growth in a key market and established a new headquarters in Hong Kong to oversee its Asian expansion. In April 2014, the chain opened a new store in Tokyo's Ginza district. While the company plans to open a few more stores in Japan in 2014, it's primarily looking to boost productivity at its existing stores in Japan. Elsewhere in Asia, Kate Spade has plans to open eight to 12 stores in China.
The company has narrowed its focus considerably, having sold its Lucky Brand Jeans business to an affiliate of Leonard Green & Partners for $225 million. Earlier in the year it sold Juicy Couture to Authentic Brands Group for $195 million. Following the sale of Lucky, the company is left with kate spade, for which it has big plans.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In late 2012, the company acquired the 51% interest in its Kate Spade Japan (KSJ) joint venture (formed in 2009) from partner Sanei International Co. for $41 million. KSJ operated the kate spade new york, KATE SPADE SATURDAY, and JACK SPADE businesses in Japan.