Phillips-Van Heusen Corp began 2007 with an explosion of activity, closing its acquisition of Superba Inc, taking back its Calvin Klein and Izod neckwear licenses from Mallory & Church, and licensing out its Bass footwear brand to Harbor Footwear Group.

PVH has also established the PVH Neckwear Group, consisting of Superba and its Insignia Design Group unit, and named Lee Terrill president of the group.

With its neckwear operation now in place, PVH moved quickly to capitalise on it by agreeing to terminate its neckwear license for Calvin Klein and Izod, two brands it owns, with Mallory & Church LLC. That agreement is expected to take effect early next month with the PVH Neckwear Group taking responsibility for neckwear under the two brands in the autumn.

"We believe that the synergy created by coupling the leading neckwear and dress shirt businesses will provide us with additional opportunity to grow both businesses," said Emanuel Chirico, chief executive officer of PVH, in a statement.

"We are also pleased that we have been able to provide for the early return of the Calvin Klein and Izod neckwear businesses. This will provide us with an immediate opportunity to expand our newly acquired neckwear business and enhance the growth we expect to see from it."

PVH agreed in October to acquire Superb, with estimated annual revenues of US$140m, for $110m and an additional $70m being paid out over a three-year period based on performance targets.

PVH also took a step away from the footwear business Tuesday (2 January) when it said that it had reached a licensing agreement under which Harbor Footwear Group, makers of Giorgio Brutini and other footwear brands, will design, manufacture and market Bass footwear for men, women and children on a worldwide basis.

The Weejun and Sunjun labels are included in the arrangement, but PVH will retain its Bass outlet stores, which sell apparel and accessories as well as footwear. The footwear agreement is expected to take effect next month, with Harbor debuting its Bass footwear offerings at the FFANY show in June.

As previously indicated, Mervyn Mandelbaum, formerly chief executive officer of Superba, will serve in the same capacity in the neckwear group.

Terrill has been president of PVH's branded dress shirt group since 1998 and has spent a total of 28 years with the firm. A successor to Terrill and other appointments within the wholesale division of the company are expected shortly.

Under the PVH umbrella, Superba's manufacturing and back-office operations will be retained, and the neckwear unit's marketing, sales and design organisations will remain based in New York.

In addition to Calvin Klein and Izod, PVH owns the Van Heusen, Arrow and Bass names and markets shirts and sportswear under licensed brands including Geoffrey Beene, Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, BCBG Max Azri, Michael Michael Kors (FOLO), Sean John, Chaps, Donald J. Trump and JOE Joseph Abboud (FOLO).

Superba has been an Arrow licensee and its neckwear is also offered under licensed labels including DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Perry Ellis, JOE Joseph Abboud, Original Penguin and Hart Schaffner Marx.

During the first nine months of the current fiscal year, PVH's earnings available to common shareholders rose more than 80% to $114.3m while revenues added 5.9% to reach $1.53bn despite an anticipated decline in dress shirt business, principally due to the merger of May Department Stores Co into Federated Department Stores.

PVH is believed to be the largest shirt producer in the world.
By Arnold J Karr.