Kenneth Cole Reverses PDI License Extension

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NEW YORK – Kenneth Cole Productions has decided not to extend Paul Davril Inc.’s license for Kenneth Cole Reaction men’s sportswear after all.

KCP said Thursday that the license for the KC Reaction collection will be terminated at the end of the current year, as originally contracted, rather than extended until the end of 2008, as the company reported it would do back on Nov. 2.

KCP said in November it had agreed to terminate PDI’s license for Kenneth Cole New York men’s and women’s sportswear at the end of 2006, a year ahead of schedule, but that it had extended the KC Reaction men’s license with PDI until the end of 2008, a year longer than originally agreed. Thursday’s decision undoes the KC Reaction extension.

KCP said it was forming a wholesale apparel division to manage the KC Reaction men’s sportswear group. However, it said it is also considering potential licensees or other strategic partnerships for the label.

“In either scenario, KCP’s involvement will be significantly enhanced and the company is firmly committed to continuing and expanding the success of the Kenneth Cole Reaction men’s sportswear line,” the company commented in a press release.

In November, Kenneth Cole, chairman and chief executive of the firm that bears his name, said, without any specific mention of PDI, “While we are pleased with the success of the elevation of our brands at wholesale and the growth we’ve seen in Reaction men’s sportswear specifically, we believe the potential size of the Reaction men’s sportswear business as well as the Kenneth Cole New York men’s and women’s sportswear businesses are significantly higher than present levels.”

Bernard Chaus holds the license for Kenneth Cole Reaction women’s sportswear.

KCP has been endeavoring to move the New York label into the area of “affordable luxury” and focus Reaction on the upper department-store tier.

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