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Clothing maker Liz Claiborne changing its name to Fifth & Pacific after sale of brand

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NEW YORK, N.Y. - Liz Claiborne Inc. is changing its name to Fifth & Pacific Cos. now that the clothing maker has sold its namesake brand and plans to concentrate on its Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Kate Spade labels.

The name change, which the New York company previously announced was coming, is just the latest step that Liz Claiborne is taking as it tries to become a more profitable business. In November the company completed the sales of its Liz Claiborne and Monet brands to J.C. Penney. Other fall deals included selling its Mexx business to a joint venture led by the private equity firm The Gores Group, and selling its Kensie and Dana Buchman brands.

Liz Claiborne has said that it plans to focus on its Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Kate Spade brands that appeal to well-heeled shoppers. Wealthier consumers are spending more freely than middle- and low-income shoppers as economic uncertainty continues to cast a shadow on U.S. consumer spending.

In the third quarter, Liz Claiborne's net loss widened and its adjusted net income from continuing operations missed analysts' expectations. Third-quarter revenue slipped 9 per cent.

Liz Claiborne said Wednesday that its name change will likely take effect around May 15, when it will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the "FNP" ticker symbol.

"While it's difficult to replace an iconic name like Liz Claiborne, we believe that Fifth & Pacific Companies telegraphs who we are today — taking inspiration from New York and California, while describing our reach and our potential," CEO William McComb said in a statement.

McComb said Fifth & Pacific Cos. is now "financially stronger, with a healthy balance sheet and significantly reduced operating risk and complexity."

The company's new corporate website will be www.fifthandpacific.com .

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