Liz Claiborne Inc. was founded in 1976 by Liz Claiborne, Art Ortenberg, Leonard Boxer, and Jerome Chazen. It was an immediate success with sales of $2 million in 1976 and $23 million in 1978. In 1980, Nina McLemore founded Liz Claiborne Accessories. Liz Claiborne Inc. went public in 1981 and had made the Fortune 500 in 1986, ten years after it was founded, with retail sales of $1.2 billion. It was the first company founded by a woman to be listed in the Fortune 500.
Liz Claiborne was also the first designer to insist that her collection be placed together on the department store floor, instead of in separate clothing categories, which changed the way we shop. Shoppers no longer went from shirt department to pant department to coordinate an outfit. They were able to mix and match pieces from the Liz Claiborne collection to create entire outfits. This revolutionized the way department stores arranged clothing for sale and created the role of fashion merchandising as we know it today. Claiborne died on June 26, 2007, at the age of 78 from complications from cancer.
On May 15, 2012, Liz Claiborne Inc. officially became Fifth & Pacific, Inc. and shifted focus to three brands – Juicy Couture, kate spade, and Lucky Brand Jeans. The new name also marked a transition to a direct-to-consumer retailer after decades primarily serving department stores. The new name also reflected the sale of the Liz Claiborne namesake brand to JC Penney Co. in October 2011, as well as other transactions.
On October 7, 2013, Fifth & Pacific Cos announced that they would sell Juicy Couture to Authentic Brands Group for $195 million.
Business Growth and Consolidation
Founder Leonard Boxer retired in 1985, and in 1989, Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg also retired from active management. Jerome Chazen became the company's Chairman in 1989 and held that role until 1996, when Paul Charron became Chairman and C.E.O. and held that position until 2006. During...