ralph lauren tallas grandes Jones Sues Polo Ralph Lauren In Dispute on Revoked License
The Jones Apparel Group, a leading clothing maker, sued the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation yesterday for at least $550 million in damages because the designer revoked a license to make shirts, pants and blouses for the Lauren brand.
Jackwyn Nemerov, the former president of Jones, was also named in the suit, accused of breaking a noncompete agreement and giving Polo Ralph Lauren confidential business information, Jones Apparel said in a statement.
Polo Ralph Lauren also filed a suit in New York Supreme Court to void the Lauren license, contending the agreement should be ended now instead of 2006 because Jones did not meet its sales requirements. Jones said it was not prepared to produce Lauren’s spring 2004 line and that it would not try to reclaim the license.
The Lauren line had $548 million in sales last year.
”They’re playing hardball,” said Tom Mangan, who helps manage about $500 million at James Investment Research Inc., including Jones shares.
The companies had been in talks about the license since last year and the dispute was made public in February. Jones, which also makes Jones New York clothing and Nine West shoes, is Polo’s largest licensee. Jones, which is based in Bristol, Pa., says it owns the exclusive United States and Canadian rights to use the Lauren trademark through the end of 2006. Polo Ralph Lauren has said it has the right to end Jones’s Lauren license because sales of the Ralph line, also made by Jones for a younger market, fell short of goals.
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The dispute may cost Jones about 13 percent of sales and shelf space at department stores, some investors have said. Jones said it could now consider internal brands and other licensing options to supplement sales that it had been precluded from exploring while under contract with Polo Ralph Lauren.
Jones plans to introduce a line of Jones New York career casual clothing to be sold in department stores. Sales of items under the Jones New York label will be about $730 million this year and the new line may help the brand’s sales exceed $1 billion in 2004, the company said.