-Camuto Enters into Licensing Agreement to Produce Bill Blass Women's Footwear-
NEW YORK, November 19, 2007 -- NexCen Brands, Inc. ("NexCen") (Nasdaq: NEXC) announced today that it has closed on the acquisition of the trademarks and other intellectual property of The Shoe Box, Inc. in partnership with the Camuto Group. The Shoe Box, Inc. is a multi-brand luxury shoe retailer based in New York. Utilizing the expertise of NexCen Franchise Management, NexCen's Atlanta-based franchising division, and the design and development talent of the Camuto Group, a premier women's fashion footwear company, the companies intend to franchise The Shoe Box's luxury footwear concept domestically and internationally. NexCen and the Camuto Group will seek to roll out in excess of 500 of The Shoe Box stores globally, providing women with high-end fashion footwear and accessories. The Shoe Box will allow the Camuto Group to prominently feature brands from their broad portfolio.
NexCen has also entered into a 30-year licensing agreement with the Camuto Group to develop women's footwear for all categories of NexCen's luxury brand, Bill Blass. The franchise platform will also provide the ideal vehicle for the Camuto Group to create product for Bill Blass as a key component of The Shoe Box strategy. Building on the strength of the iconic brand, the Camuto Group will design, manufacture and distribute the luxury women's footwear for NexCen.
"This partnership creates the first fully vertically integrated property in our brand portfolio," commented Robert W. D'Loren, President and CEO of NexCen. "Through this partnership, we shall control brand marketing, development, retail franchising and manufacturing through our partner, the Camuto Group, providing us with a unique opportunity to build value for our Bill Blass brand. Additionally, we provide NexCen franchise owners worldwide with the opportunity to invest in a new footwear retailing model--the first international multi-brand luxury footwear chain."
Partnering with the Camuto Group allows NexCen to offer franchise owners inventory from the most prolific design, manufacturing and development resource in women's fashion footwear. Founded in 2001 by Vince Camuto, the co-founder and former CEO of the Nine West Group, Inc., the Camuto Group offers preeminent brands including Jessica Simpson, BCBG Max Azria, BCBGirls, Vince Camuto and Arturo Chiang.
Vince Camuto stated, "We are thrilled by our new partnership with NexCen. Their track record of building successful premium brands and growing them on a global basis makes NexCen a strong partner. In addition, the opportunity to add Bill Blass to the stable of the Camuto Group brands is the perfect complement to our existing success and growth in the marketplace. Finally, The Shoe Box stores will be a perfect way to introduce the new Bill Blass line to the consumer."
The owner of The Shoe Box, Inc., Richard Kirschenbaum, will become a partner in the joint venture and will also take on a consulting role with NexCen to assist in marketing the new franchise concept, merchandising and training franchise owners.
"We are delighted to be working with NexCen Brands, a world leader in footwear franchising, to grow our operation," commented Mr. Kirschenbaum. "NexCen and the Camuto Group are the ideal brand-building partners. From manufacturing to distribution, merchandising to marketing, they have the broadest depth of knowledge and expertise of any players in the industry."
About NexCen Brands, Inc. (Nasdaq: NEXC) (www.nexcenbrands.com)
NexCen Brands, Inc. is the premier 21st century vertically integrated global brand acquisition and management company focused on assembling a diversified portfolio of intellectual property-centric companies operating in the consumer branded products and franchise industries. The Company owns, licenses, franchises and markets a growing portfolio of consumer and franchise brands including The Athlete's Foot, Bill Blass, MaggieMoo's, Marble Slab Creamery, Pretzel Time, and Pretzelmaker, The Shoe Box and Waverly. The Company licenses and franchises its brands to a network of leading retailers, manufacturers and franchisees that includes every major segment of retail distribution from the luxury market to the mass market in the U.S. and in over 50 countries around the world, and consists of more than 1,500 franchised stores. NexCen, through its information technology, franchisee support systems and advertising, marketing and public relations team, markets its brands to continually drive greater consumer awareness and brand equity for each of its brands. NexCen touches nearly every aspect of a consumer's lifestyle from the food they eat to the furnishings in their homes and the clothes and footwear they purchase.
About the Camuto Group
The Camuto Group is a leading organization for design, development and distribution of women's fashion footwear and is renowned for its ability to build women's lifestyle brands on a global scale. Camuto Group products are sold in over 5400 doors worldwide. The Camuto Group is the owner of the Vince Camuto and Arturo Chiang brands and is the master licensee for the Jessica Simpson collection. The company also develops and manages the Antonio Melani and Gianni Bini brands, and holds the footwear license for BCBGirls, BCBG Max Azria and Nicole Miller.
About The Shoe Box, Inc.
The Shoe Box, Inc. is a leading retailer of designer women's footwear, handbags, and accessories. The company is committed to setting and maintaining a high standard of sophisticated product selection, data driven merchandising, advanced training systems, and a customer centric selling system. Family owned and operated since 1954, the company began as a single store in Plainview, Long Island, and today is a renowned specialty store shoe boutique with eight locations throughout the Long Island and New York City area and one location in Boca Raton, Florida. It has always been the frontrunner in providing outstanding customer care while offering the latest fashions from top European and American designers such as Stuart Weitzman, D&G, Giuseppe Zanotti, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Casadei, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Michael Kors. The company carries footwear ranging from boots and sandals to evening and bridal shoes. It also carries designer handbags to match any outfit and occasion.
Forward-Looking Statement Disclosure
This press release contains "forward-looking statements," as such term is used in the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such forward-looking statements include those regarding expectations for the development of our business, expectations for the performance of the joint venture to franchise The Shoe Box concept, and expectations for the performance of our licensees and franchisees in connection therewith. When used herein, the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "intend," "may," "will," "expect" and similar expressions as they relate to the Company or its management are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and assumptions, which are subject to risks and uncertainties. They are not guarantees of future performance or results. The Company's actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from the results expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include: (1) we are still in the early stages of building our IP business and may not be successful in implementing our business strategy, (2) we may not be successful in developing, operating, licensing or franchising The Shoe Box concept or in integrating it into our IP business strategy, (3) we face risks associated with marketing, licensing and franchising the trademark and other intellectual property acquired from The Shoe Box, Inc.; (4) we depend on the success of our licensees and franchisees for future growth; (5) we face risks associated with the ability of franchisees to successfully market and sell under through The Shoe Box concept, and (6) other factors discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. NexCen undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.