Tommy Hilfiger Group and the Stride Rite unit of Collective Brands, Inc. reached a mutual agreement under which Tommy Hilfiger will bring its men's and women's footwear business in-house effective January 1, 2009. Stride Rite will continue to remain a licensee for the Tommy Hilfiger Kids footwear line through December 31, 2009.
Tommy Hilfiger Group and Stride Rite have had a relationship for more than 10 years, with Stride Rite serving as the exclusive licensee of the Tommy Hilfiger footwear brand in the United States. The existing license was set to expire December 31, 2008. Collective Brands expects no material financial impact in fiscal year 2008 as a result of this move.

“We have always had a very successful relationship with Stride Rite and appreciate its valuable contributions to the brand over the past decade. However, since the Tommy Hilfiger Group acquired Tommy Hilfiger Footwear GmbH in 2007, the company that operates the footwear business internationally under a separate license agreement, we have experienced the benefits of having this type of dedicated expertise in-house,” said Fred Gehring, CEO of Tommy Hilfiger Group. “Therefore, we firmly believe that bringing the U.S. footwear business in-house as well will allow us to benefit from global economies of scale and further brand alignment.”

As part of the transition plan, Stride Rite will deliver the full Tommy Hilfiger Footwear collection for 2008. Several Stride Rite associates that have been directly involved with the Tommy Hilfiger business will join Tommy Hilfiger U.S.A., Inc.'s newly created Tommy Hilfiger Footwear division, and report to Anne Marino, President of Tommy Hilfiger Licensing.

“The Tommy Hilfiger team has been a great business partner, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the Tommy Hilfiger Kids business,” said Gregg Ribatt, chief executive officer of Stride Rite. “This transition plan is very thorough and ensures the utmost commitment to the brand and to our customers. Furthermore, for Stride Rite, it allows our teams to focus on the key opportunities before us with our owned brands such as Sperry Top-Sider, Saucony and Keds, as well as our Stride Rite Children's Group business.”

The Tommy Hilfiger Footwear collections will continue to be distributed through high-quality distribution networks, as well as in Tommy Hilfiger's own specialty stores in the United States