Kenneth Cole has signed a four-year deal with the UK’s GBG Footwear and Accessories Limited to distribute men’s and women’s footwear and to manufacture and distribute women’s handbags in select countries across Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
The US footwear, clothing and accessories brand, which was founded by Kenneth Cole 30 years ago, said the deal was part of its strategy to continue its global expansion.
Distribution of footwear in select cities including London, Paris, Milan and Berlin will begin in the autumn of this year with a focus on men’s and women’s Kenneth Cole New York and Reaction Kenneth Cole footwear and Women’s Gentle Souls footwear.
Women’s handbags will be manufactured and distributed under the Kenneth Cole New York and Reaction Kenneth Cole labels and will launch for spring 2019. The agreement also gives GBG Europe Footwear and Accessories Limited the rights to manufacture and distribute briefcases, luggage, portfolios, backpacks, and small leather goods.
“We are looking forward to having a central European-based partner who specializes in footwear and is able to offer best in class service to department stores and independent retailers in these regions,” said Marc Schneider, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc CEO. “We are excited about this partnership and the growth opportunities it affords us in these categories of our business.”
“Kenneth Cole and his brand had defined the standard for New York style and social consciousness for more than three decades,” said Mike Hiscock of Global Brands Group Holding Limited. “We believe that the Kenneth Cole brand has tremendous potential to resonate with consumers far beyond the levels it is currently reaching and we are excited to introduce the product to new customers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.”
GBG will bring the brand to the European, Middle Eastern, and African markets through all major retail channels including department stores, independent retailers, and ecommerce. The two partners say they are working with some of Europe’s top retailers for a market launch in autumn 2018.
Kenneth Cole has so far built a global business through directly owned and operated stores as well as boutiques located within select department stores and specialty retailer locations in North America, as well as through distributor-operated shops in Asia and Latin America.
GBG is part of the Fung Group and manages licensing for several dozen brands including Under Armour, Kenneth Cole, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade New York, Katy Perry, Fiorelli and All Saints.