Camuto Group Plots European Plans

NEW YORK — Camuto Group is embarking on a major European growth push.

Following the firm’s new distribution deal with Kurt Geiger Ltd., a division of The Jones Group Inc., the partners were already busy crafting plans last week at Camuto’s Greenwich, Conn., headquarters.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kurt Geiger — which operates the shoe departments in Harrods, Selfridges and dozens of other top retailers across Europe — will distribute the Vince Camuto, VC Signature and Jessica Simpson brands exclusively in the U.K., Ireland and Germany. The deal, which begins for spring ’13, includes footwear and handbags. (Geiger also will distribute the Camuto brands in Italy, Holland and France, although not exclusively.)

“We’re going after large-scale growth in Europe,” said Vince Camuto, founder and CEO of his eponymous firm. “This deal combines great sourcing and design with brilliant retailing.”

The move also significantly expands Camuto Group’s affiliation with Jones. “Vince and I have a great relationship and we talk a lot [as partners on Jessica Simpson jeanswear],” said Jones Group CEO Wes Card.

According to Kurt Geiger chief Neil Clifford, Camuto’s distinct brand identities will help them carve out a strong following in Geiger’s retail portfolio. “After visiting the Camuto showroom, it was clear we needed to get a deal done,” Clifford said, adding that the retailer is selective when considering brand partnerships.

In addition to wholesale expansion, his team is on the hunt for a central London location to house the city’s first Vince Camuto store, which will feature apparel and acessories, in addition to footwear. “It’s more than just a shoe brand. We [want to convey it] as a full lifestyle concept,” Clifford said.

Already, Camuto has been rapidly expanding its retail presence. By the end of the year, the company will have 40 locations globally.

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