Vera Bradley Reports Profit Dip, New Licensing Deals

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Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley Inc. (Nasdaq: VRA) is reporting fiscal third quarter net income of $8.8 million, down from $10.3 million during the same period last year. The company has also announced three new licensing agreements that will feature Vera Bradley's signature patterns on home, hosiery and swim products.

Chief Executive Officer Robert Wallstrom says the quarter was important for the company due to the launch of its new brand positioning as well as the opening of its flagship store in Manhattan's SoHo district. 

"We are pleased with improved consumer engagement driven by these initiatives. However, the overall retail environment remains challenging," said Wallstrom. "Recovery is a long process, but we believe our focus on evolving our product offerings, while honoring our heritage; working to distribute our products in the most impactful channels; and enhancing consumer engagement and traffic through our marketing and rebranding efforts are the right ones for the future of the Company."

Wallstrom says, however, the company is encouraged by its new licensing agreements. Vera Bradley has partnered with California-based Peking Handicdraft Inc. for decorative bedding, area rugs and kitchen textiles, as well as North Carolina-based Renfro Corp. for hosiery, tights, boot liners and slipper socks. The company has also signed an agreement with Pennsylvania-based Mainstream Swimsuits Inc. for swimwear and cover-ups.

"We are excited about the expansion of our products through licensing which should increase our brand exposure, allow us to acquire new customers, provide additional distribution, drive traffic to our digital flagship, and position us for eventual international growth," said Wallstrom.

Distribution of products through the partnerships with Peking and Renfro will begin in the fall of 2017 and distribution with Mainstream Swimsuits will begin in the spring of 2017. The products will be sold through various channels, including Vera Bradley's website as well as specialty and chain stores throughout the country.

The new agreements come just a few months after the company announced its first two licensing deals in the stationery and publishing markets. 

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