Sperry Top-Sider Signs Licenses

Sperry Top-Sider is expanding its reach.

The Lexington, Mass.-based brand, a division of Topeka, Kan.-based Collective Brands Inc., will announce today it has signed licenses for Sperry Top-Sider bags, belts, swimwear, eyewear, scarves and hosiery for men and women, among other categories. The brand extensions will debut for spring ’13.

“The brand has picked up some significant momentum in the marketplace,” Sperry president Craig Reingold told Footwear News. “And consumers are buying the core boat shoe but are really also buying our products beyond boat shoes: fashion flats, dress casual styles and rainboots. They’re asking for more from this brand beyond footwear.”

Sperry’s new partners will include Manhattan Beachwear Inc., a manufacturer of swimwear and cover-ups; hosiery maker Renfro Corp.; Tandy Brands, a manufacturer of belts, bags and leathergoods; Interbrand LLC, a manufacturer of headwear, scarves and gloves; and U.S. Continental Marketing, a maker of leather and shoe-care products.

According to Reingold, the license holders will be responsible for marketing and distribution of their own collections, but will work closely with the Sperry Top-Sider team on the product’s look and feel and on marketing materials.

Sales will be targeted to department stores and specialty accounts reflective of the brand’s existing distribution. To start, Sperry execs expect the accessories business to be balanced between men and women, reflecting the current split in the brand’s overall sales.

Reingold noted that this first round of deals is just the beginning of a larger expansion. Additional licenses, for product such as eyewear and watches, could be added as soon as spring ’13, and apparel is in the brand’s long-term plan.

“Our strategy is to start with accessories and evolve into apparel down the road,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity for the brand and our partners.”

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