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Outbound Licensing Moves In-House image

Outbound Licensing Moves In-House

Several high-profile companies, including PVH Corp. and luxury goods powerhouse LVMH, have taken some outbound licensing in-house as part of a broader plan to sharpen their focus on core brands.

In the case of PVH, which owns the Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, the move in-house is part of a multi-year strategy (known as the PVH+ Plan) to “unlock the full potential” of the two labels, CEO Stefan Larsson said. As part of that effort, PVH will start with its Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger women’s apparel ranges, which are currently licensed to G-III Apparel Group. Those agreements were extended in staggered periods set to end from 2025 to 2027 in order to create a smooth transition of the product categories back to PVH at the end of each term. The two brands accounted for about 30% of the PVH’s licensing revenue in 2022.

LVMH, meanwhile, has taken a more gradual approach. It started with the acquisition of its eyewear manufacturer Thelios in 2017, giving it a production base. Next, the company ended outbound licensing deals with Safilo and EssilorLuxottica for a stable of brands that includes Fendi, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Celine, and others. Further cementing its strategy of taking the eyewear business in-house was a decision to take back a license for the Bulgari brand, which had a 20-year run with EssilorLuxottica. Its Thelios unit also purchased the Vuarnet high-end sunglass brand from Neo Investment Partners and added celebrity brand Barton Perreira.

“By bringing core product categories in-house over time, you are able to draw on the power and expertise of global brand teams and have them fully connected to the demand-driven supply chain being developed,” Larsson said. “We are grateful to G-III for their partnership and long-term commitment to Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger in North America.”

As more companies move design and development in-house, licensees could find themselves scrambling to make up for the lost revenue.

Eyewear supplier Safilo’s licensing agreement with Capri Holdings for the Jimmy Choo brand is ending December 31, as the brand shifts to EssilorLuxottica. It also lost LVMH licenses for Fendi and Dior, which combined accounted for $300 million in annual sales. At the same time, Safilo picked a license for Levi’s and has a deal for LVMH’s Marc Jacobs brand that runs through 2024.

“This is all in the nature of the licensing business,” a licensing executive said. “As companies grow, they sometimes seek to bring development in-house because they feel that gives them more control over a brand’s future, especially when they handle the manufacturing of the products. It also is part of a trend to focus on fewer brands more deeply, rather than having a broad portfolio where some brands might not be performing due to a lack of attention

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