Kellwood Company (NYSE: KWD) announced today the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Group B Clothing Company, Inc, according to Hal J. Upbin, Kellwood chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Best known for its popular Democracy® label, the Vernon, Calif-based company markets better-priced junior and misses casual sportswear and dresses to upscale department and specialty stores and better catalog retailers across the country.

"Group B's Democracy brand is a fashionable and well-respected name in better sportswear and dresses. The addition of the company's product offerings to Kellwood's portfolio will strengthen our competitive position in this niche of the women's sportswear market, which remains one of our major platforms for growth," Upbin said.

"We are eager to join forces with Kellwood," said Martin Brander, Group B's chief executive officer. "As we bring the Democracy name and our business expertise to Kellwood, we will benefit from the extensive sourcing network and customer base Kellwood has established." Brander will continue to lead the organisation and retain his current responsibilities. He will report to Arthur K. Gordon, chief executive officer of Kellwood's ENC division.

Group B was founded in 1983 and has annual sales of approximately $26m. Kellwood will purchase the assets of Group B for cash, and expects to complete the transaction in early December.

With over $2.3bn in annual sales, Kellwood Company (NYSE: KWD) is a leading marketer of apparel and recreational camping products. For more about Kellwood, visit the Company's web site at www.kellwood.com.