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Kohl's Announces Exclusive Rock & Republic Agreement to Begin 2012

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The once high-flying Los Angeles denim label Rock & Republic is going to suburban Milwaukee-based Kohl's.

VF Corp., the apparel maker that bought the troubled blue jean company out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, signed a licensing agreement with Kohl's Corp. naming the discount chain the exclusive retailer for Rock & Republic.

The collection is slated to debut in the spring of 2012. The brand will initially focus on apparel and footwear for men and women, the companies said. It may eventually expand to include children's clothing, accessories and home goods.

VF will manufacture the jeans. The Greensboro, N.C.-based apparel giant owns more than 30 brands, including Seven for All Mankind, Lee, Wrangler and North Face.

Kohl's, based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., will design and source the other product categories from its design center in New York.

In the past several years, Kohl's has built its stable of private brands, picking up designer names including Dana Buchman and Simply Vera Vera Wang. The private label business currently accounts for 48 percent of sales, the retailer said.

Rock & Republic got its start in 2002, and accelerated as the premium denim craze took off. The company ran into trouble when it expanded into freestanding stores and a cosmetics line in the midst of the recession, just as shoppers lost their appetite for $300 jeans. [Chicago Breaking Business]

Kohl's Headquarters

N 95 W18000 Appleton, Menomonee Falls, WI