Kenneth Cole is a trendy old sole. Known for its shoes, Kenneth Cole Productions makes stylish apparel and accessories under the Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Unlisted, and Gentle Souls names. Kenneth Cole licenses its name globally for hosiery, luggage, watches, and eyewear. It continues to expand, adding new lines for women and children, as well as fragrances. About 4,700 department and specialty stores carry its products. Kenneth Cole operates more than 90 retail and outlet stores and sells through catalogs and websites. The company is controlled by its chairman and founder, Kenneth Cole.
The company's goods are made outside the US by contractors in Italy and China, among other locations in Europe and Asia.
Kenneth Cole operates retail stores and company outlet stores in the US (more than 90 retail and outlet stores across 25 states). Its stores portfolio -- which has reached about 300 -- also extends to Asia, the Middle East, Canada, and South America.
The company focuses on designing, sourcing, and marketing a broad range of footwear, apparel, handbags, and accessories under several brand names, including Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Unlisted, and Gentle Souls.
Its men's and women's fragrances are made through a strategic alliance with Coty.
Sales and Marketing
The company markets its products to about 4,700 domestic department and specialty stores; its own full-priced retail, outlet, and online stores; and internationally through licensee partners and international retailers.
Looking to diversify its revenue stream and boost sales for the long term, the upscale retailer plans to open Kenneth Cole New York stores in India through an agreement with Reliance Brands. Five stores are slated to open by the end of 2015, with another 20 more through 2020. Like other retailers and manufacturers, Kenneth Cole is lured to set up shop in India for its consumers' improved standard of living and overall loyalty and attraction to top brand names.
In 2014 the company opened a boutique in Haiti to help bring commercial and humanitarian benefits to the poverty-stricken Caribbean country. Kenneth Cole is selling a portion of profits from the sale of clothing and accessories to the Kenneth Cole Haiti Health Center in the impoverished Cite Soleil on the northern edge of the Port-au-Prince.
In addition to being chairman, founder Kenneth Cole serves as chief creative officer, having control over design, product, brand positioning, and advertising. Company namesake Cole is said to be a micromanager who closely controls costs and keeps a tight rein on the decision-makers at the apparel and footwear manufacturer.
Chairman Cole, who effective September 2012 owns the namesake company, took Kenneth Cole Productions private through a merger with his KCP Holdco, Inc.
In 2012 Cole had offered to acquire 100% of the company's outstanding publicly held shares of common stock. As part of a revised transaction, stockholders received $15 per share in cash, valuing the total equity of the company at about $280 million and Cole's purchase of 46% of outstanding stock (and about 89% of the voting power) at some $148.5 million.