Michael Kors plans more major deals

A Michael Kors Holdings Limited retail store is shown in La Jolla, California.
A Michael Kors Holdings Limited retail store is shown in La Jolla, California. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK • Michael Kors Holdings is not done with deals.

The fashion house, which agreed to buy luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for about US$1.2 billion (S$1.6 billion) on Tuesday, is planning to build a portfolio of upscale brands. And that means acquiring more businesses, possibly in the same billion-dollar range, according to its chief executive officer John Idol.

"We are not going to do something small, let me just say that," he said in an interview. Buying a US$10-million or US$20-million brand is "not going to move the needle for us".

The company is turning to deals as it tries to regain lost sales - a slump brought on in part by its flagship brand becoming too exposed.

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Michael Kors plans to focus on integrating Jimmy Choo, known for its Sex And The City stilettos, in the next six to 12 months. Then, it will start shopping around again, Mr Idol said.

The Jimmy Choo acquisition was Michael Kors' biggest effort to expand beyond its own brand name since its initial public offering in 2011. The takeover gives the company a greater presence in higher-end luxury - and helps it play catch-up with Coach, which agreed to buy Stuart Weitzman in 2015 and made a US$2.4-billion deal to buy Kate Spade & Co in May.

It also helps decrease Michael Kors' reliance on handbags. Both the company and Coach are trying to become something akin to European luxury conglomerates, with a diversity of brands.

Like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors opened too many stores and stretched itself too thin.

The company also has relied heavily on struggling department stores and discounters like T.J. Maxx, where steep discounts hurt the brand's image.

For future acquisitions, Michael Kors could seek luxury-footwear and accessories makers with visionary designers, Mr Idol said.

The company is looking for names that are not already widely distributed.

"We are definitely interested in having things that we can help develop," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2017, with the headline 'Michael Kors plans more major deals'. Print Edition | Subscribe