A youthful, energetic, sports-inspired global brand.
Since its introduction in the United States approximately 80 years ago, IZOD has evolved into an American institution and a sportswear authority. IZOD has made its reputation as the standard in sportswear, with bold, colorful and energetic design. IZOD collections include classic, athletically inspired sportswear, golfwear, jeanswear, performance wear and luxury-style sport collections with the clean, youthful design aesthetic that has come to be synonymous with the brand.
IZOD's roots goes back to Arthur James "Jack" Izod's bespoke tailor shop in London, where Jack Izod produced shirts and held a royal warrant to provide shirts to the royal household. A visiting executive from David Crystal Inc. became intrigued by the name and purchased the rights to it. The Izod of London mark was initially applied to a successful line of women's shirts and then expanded to include menswear and childrenswear. Lagging in sales, the David Crystal Inc. executive began giving away the shirts to famous people, including the Duke of Windsor, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Bing Crosby; the shirts began to resonate with consumers.
Over time, the shirts were coupled with the similarly styled Lacoste brand offerings. IZOD Lacoste shirts became a signature piece of "preppy" wardrobes in the United States. When the preppy look began to fade at the end of the decade, so did the brand's sales. IZOD's owner, at this point known as Crystal Brands, split the IZOD and Lacoste brands in the early 1990's in an effort to maintain market share, marketing the similarly designed goods at different price points and in different channels but without success. Lacoste was sold and then, in 1995, PVH purchased IZOD.
Since our acquisition of IZOD in 1995, we have remained true to the brand's history of athletic-inspired and colorful style, as well as functional design. We rebuilt the brand's prestige steadily through the remainder of the 1990's. With its renewed strength, the IZOD brand was licensed for new product categories, including soft home goods, leather outerwear, golf apparel and, going back to the IZOD name's roots, men's tailored clothing and ties.
For consumers, IZOD continues to expand and innovate. Offerings include classic sportswear with a particular focus on golf apparel. As we continue to elevate the fashion, quality and design of IZOD product, we are also focused on growing the brand's department store presence and profitability. We are investing in in-store branding, with a particular focus on the mid-tier department store channel. We have been installing new shop-in-shops in several mid-tier department stores and expanding the brand's presence at Kohl's for the back-to-school season in 2014. Additionally, as part of J.C. Penney's new marketing strategy, the Izod team nearly doubled the size of its shop-in-shops in approximately 40 doors in 2013. These shops feature the best and most expansive department store presentation of the IZOD brand. Lastly, given the heightened focus on golf and our objective to double the size of our golf business over the next few years, we are looking for new, brand-appropriate ways to touch a broader audience. To that extent, we signed PGA golfers Webb Simpson, Scott Piercy and Spencer Levin as IZOD brand ambassadors in 2012, as well as Cameron Wilson in 2014.
We have also been expanding the brand internationally, with a focus on rapidly growing markets. In 2011, we entered into a licensing arrangement with a Chinese partner, which distributes IZOD branded men's sportswear in more than 1,000 points of sale across China. The brand is also licensed to a major apparel company in India for the sale and distribution of men's sportswear and accessories. More recently, we entered into agreements for various IZOD products to be sold in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and other South Pacific Islands and the Philippines. We currently have 29 licensing agreements for IZOD, nine of which are international. The current licensees operate 45 free-standing stores.