Harbor Footwear Group Ltd. is starting a new chapter. The family-owned business, founded in 1969, has been renamed Harbor Brands Group and will now focus on serving as exclusive footwear production and distribution partner in North America for Italian lifestyle brand Bruno Magli.
As part of the reorganization, effective June, Harbor is selling its Giorgio Brutini and GBX businesses and transferring its Izod license to New York- based Eastman Group.
“Bruno Magli has become Harbor Footwear’s shining star,” said Jason Lazar, COO of Harbor Footwear, about the association that began in 2016. “The customer is extremely loyal and has a high regard for the quality and craftsmanship this brand consistently delivers. As we focus our company on the future, higher-margin business lines and brands that resonate to both the retailer and the end consumer is where we are redirecting our efforts.”
Since Harbor entered into an agreement with Bruno Magli and parent company Marquee Brands for sourcing and sales of its men’s and women’s footwear collections, parent company Marquee Brands reported that sales have grown over 63 percent and its women’s collection has expanded under the direction of designer Claudia Ciuti.
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“The Bruno Magli men’s business is strong and continues to grow, and under the direction of Claudia, the relaunch of women’s has brought a new focus onto beautiful heels, flats and seasonal boots that pull inspiration from the Bruno Magli archives and harken back to the brand’s origins as a women’s line,” said Lazar.
According to Barry Specht, VP of marketing for Harbor, the company is also closing its headquarters in Port Washington, N.Y., and relocating operations to its New York showroom and offices.
Harbor was founded in 1969 by husband-and-wife Murray and Evelyn Friedman, a then-trailblazing business focused on importing affordably priced fashion footwear for men. The company, which has remained in family hands, including grandson Lazar, has continued to downsize. It reported revenues of $100 million in 2013, compared with $160 million in 2003.
The company, said Specht, will continue to explore other opportunities in the high-end footwear category.