Cherokee Grabs Up Two Once-Hot Labels In a Rival's Fire Sale

By DEBORAH BELGUM
Staff Reporter

Cherokee Inc., the former blue jean maker now concentrating on licensing trademarked lines, paid $3 million for the right to license several well-known labels once produced by a bankrupt L.A. company.

In a December bankruptcy court auction, Cherokee acquired the Carole Little, CL II and Saint-Tropez West labels from Chorus Line Corp., which filed for bankruptcy protection in 2000.

Cherokee has struck a multiyear deal with The TJX Companies Inc., operator of more than 1,400 T.J. Maxx and Marshalls stores, for the exclusive right to sell the Carole Little line of apparel at their chains.

"We thought this looked like a terrific set of brands," said Lyle Wescoat, Cherokee's chief financial officer. We were able to buy these brands at a very good price."

Other labels in the acquisition were All That Jazz, Jazz Kids, Jazz Sport, Tickets, Chorus Line and Molly Malloy.

These labels will be marketed through Gilricho Brands LLC, an Oxnard company that manufactures private label clothing and promotional products.

The purchase marks the biggest addition to Cherokee's lineup of labels, which includes Side Out, King of the Beach and Cherokee.

The company received another boost last week when an arbitration panel approved an award of nearly $3 million from Mossimo Inc. The award must still be confirmed by the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Cherokee helped Mossimo, owned mostly by designer Mossimo Giannulli, skirt bankruptcy when it arranged the licensing of its label to Target stores, and a dispute arose over fees associated with that deal.

The arbitration panel also said Mossimo must also pay interest on the withheld fees and Cherokee's legal costs. Mossimo's chief financial officer, Manny Marrero, said the company hasn't decided whether to contest the award before the court's final approval.

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