I'm catching up on the Iconix earnings conference call from earlier this week in which CEO Neil Cole discussed how the company's Op brand is performing in Wal-Mart and international expansion plans for Op. Also, he talked about Iconix's partnership with Ed Hardy and that brand's distribution challenges.
Here are excerpts of Cole's comments from the call:
"Starting with our Wal-Mart brands, we are thrilled with the performance of all three brands, OP, Starter and Danskin Now. OP expanded into all Wal-Mart U.S. stores this quarter and in May it received the premier real estate in the apparel section known as the hot spot. Given the success of the first OP hot spot, it received the premier hot spot again this July with a full back-to-school assortment.
"In terms of Wal-Mart International, the OP assortment is now available across Canada and Mexico and will be going into Argentina this fall."
"Ed Hardy is the only brand in our portfolio where we're a partner and it's the only brand that we're not controlling, both marketing and distribution. Christian Audigier is doing so. And in speaking to Christian over the last month or two and trying to understand the strategy because it is broadly distributed in a lot of different product categories, they've really pulled back the distribution on the apparel and the main product categories. And you'll find very little now in off price. ... they've kind of cleaned it up. And it's now in better department stores and so they're trying to pull back on the distribution because it became so popular everywhere and the goods were turning up in places they didn't want.
As far as some of the licensees, I think we have some work to do because it is popping up in places that it necessarily shouldn't be. But it's definitely a work in progress and Iconix is trying to understand and work with Christian."