Iconix Brands (ICON), run by Neil Cole, brother of Kenneth is one of the retail companies that's doing well despite the economic climate. Why? Because, as Cole explains in this CNBC video, they are isolated from the consumer. They have guaranteed fees from the companies that license use of their brand names. They don't make or sell the products that come from the brands they control (Including Badgley Mischka and Candie's). It was a strategy was that Cole put in place with a financier, Bob D'Loren.
Now D'Loren is the C.E.O. of NexCen (NEXC). At NexCen, he's taken the concept a step further by also buying retail shop concepts, the stores of which are run by franchisees. He recently bought a small New York based chain of luxury shoe stores called The Shoe Box and he plans to roll them out across the country, once he's had his team tinker with the design. I had never heard of Shoe Box or of a national multi-brand luxury shoe store, so I was eager to see the concept. Here are some shots, courtesy NexCen:
NexCen owns Bill Blass, so in the future 30 percent of the floor space of The Shoe Box will be given over to Bill Blass shoes, produced under license by Camuto -- who also have a stake in Shoe Box. NexCen owns a wide array of brands including Maggie Moo and Marble Slab ice creams and Pretzel Time and Pretzel Maker. This, D'Loren says, will even further insulate him from economic and outside risks. Ice cream sales go down in winter, but pretzel sales go up because everyone is at the mall.
In the CNBC video, Cole says he's also diversifying outside of fashion. He's recently entered home furnishings and was spotted at the electronic trade show. It's not pretzels, it could be a sign that he might still be taking advice from D'Loren.