News Roundup: Renfro Buys K.Bell… E.S. Originals Inks Deal…

K.Bell in New Hands
Global sock manufacturer Renfro Corp. is getting a little bigger.

The Mount Airy, N.C. firm announced earlier this month it is acquiring Inglewood, Calif.-based K.Bell Socks for an undisclosed amount. Karen Bell, founder of the 31-year-old hosiery and sock company, will retain her role as chief design officer.  

“We look forward to having Karen expand her contribution within Renfro,” said Bud Kilby, Renfro CEO and president. “[We] will benefit from K.Bell’s strong customer base, [as well as its] innovation and products, [and] the combination of design talent and the global assets will enhance our collective importance to the market.”

K.Bell CEO and President Gary Finder, who joined the firm in 1999, will assist Renfro in building new leadership within the K.Bell division.

Renfro, which had sales and distribution operations across North America, Europe and Asia, markets socks for Fruit of the Loom, Dr. Scholl’s, Polo, Hot Sox and Wrangler and operates a sizeable private-label business.

Sugar Inks Deals
California-based footwear brand Sugar has signed long-term licensing deals with E.S. Originals Inc. and SG Footwear

Sugar’s line of juniors’ and children’s shoes, boots and “floatie” sandals will now be manufactured and distributed by E.S. Originals, while SG Footwear will produce its hanging footwear and slippers. Both lines will be available at department stores and specialty shoe retailers for spring ’11.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have E.S. Originals and SG Footwear as our first licenses for footwear,” said Sugar CEO Mary Boncutter. “There is great momentum between both companies and we look forward to building upon the new relationship and taking this next step for our brand.”

Brun Preps for Fall
On the heels of a capsule launch for spring ’10, footwear newcomer Hendrick Brun is looking to expand on his inaugural three-style collection.

The self-taught designer, who got his start working as a computer tech at a women’s footwear firm, has expanded his line to include 10 looks and is adding another six styles for fall ’11. Inspired by women in his life, the line includes heels, wedges, pumps and booties.

Retail prices range from $89 to $229, and the line is sold on Hendrickbrun.com.  

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