Any partnership between Kitson and Deckers Outdoor Corp. is now over.
On Oct. 8, the trendy retailer filed suit against Deckers in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging unfair trade practices, negligent misrepresentation, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, among other assertions in relation to the retailer’s sale of Ugg boots.
According to the complaint, representatives at Deckers allegedly made promises regarding competitive pricing and price protection in the Los Angeles market, and such support never materialized, putting Kitson at a competitive disadvantage. According to the filing, “Defendants had been promising and in fact granting department stores such as Nordstroms [sic] and Bloomingdales [sic] as well as national retail chains heavy markdowns whilst Plaintiff, an independent retailer, was required to purchase Defendant’s products at full wholesale and Defendant refused to give Plaintiff markdown money even though the purchase order expressly required same.”
The suit further alleges that negative media coverage and critical comments from podiatrists about Ugg boots caused sales to slow down, and Deckers refused to accept returns. Owner Fraser Ross is seeking damages in an amount to be determined at trial, attorney’s fees and punitive damages.
Connie Rishwain, president of the Ugg division, responded in a statement vowing to fight the suit. “Deckers Outdoor and the Ugg Australia brand categorically deny the grossly inaccurate and misleading statements made by Kitson in a recent legal filing,” she said. “Deckers will vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit’s allegations, which the company believes are completely without merit.”