Men's clothing supplier Grand National Apparel is seeking arbitration against Haggar Clothing Company after the latter ended a long-standing licensing deal in what Grand National said was a "sudden and unjustified" manner.

Haggar told Grand National in February it would be terminating an agreement begun in 1988 without giving the advanced notice stipulated in the contract or providing specific reasons.

Grand National said it then received a letter on 3 April from Haggar's president and CEO James Lewis claiming it ended the deal because Grand National had used confidential Haggar information to Haggar's detriment. 

Grand National said the claim is false and defamatory. President and CEO Jeff Otis told just-style: "Grand National Apparel has always operated with the highest ethical
standards. We never used confidential Haggar information improperly, and believe Haggar has raised this issue in an after-the-fact attempt to justify their improper breaking of our contract."

He continued: "If Haggar chooses to make a reasonable and fair effort to repair the damage they have caused, we are willing to listen to what they have to offer. 

"In fact, after we filed our request for arbitration, Haggar requested that our legal teams meet late this week to resolve the issue.  Based on their conduct up to now, however, we have no reason to be optimistic that this dispute will be resolved prior to the arbitration hearing. 

"Our intention is to do everything possible to bring on the arbitration hearing without delay, and we will only stop when and if a settlement is reached."

Grand National wants damages of at least C$35m (us$30.50m) from Haggar.
 
Otis added that the company's lawyers had thoroughly reviewed the case and were "very confident" on their prospects.

The agreement between the two companies renewed very five years if certain sales, royalty and other conditions were met.

"Grand National Apparel has consistently exceeded all of these requirements and has also invested substantial resources into building the Haggar brand in Canada," Otis claimed.

During the 17 years the companies worked together, Grand National grew Haggar's product sales in Canada from C$500,0000 per year to about CDN25m.

Haggar did not return just-style's calls for comment.