Liz Claiborne axes US stores

Women's fashion specialist Liz Claiborne is closing its signature US stores to experiment with some of its newer brands.

The store group, which posted quarterly pre-exceptional earnings of US$58 million (£36.8 million) compared with US$41.5 million (£26.3 million) last year, will focus on the Lucky Brand chain in the US and Mexx in Europe and Canada.

Liz Claiborne will close all 22 eponymous domestic stores, but will continue to trade 42 internationally.

In their place, three dedicated Mexx and six Sigrid Olsen stores will open, and five will be converted at existing Liz Claiborne locations.

The brand will still be available in US department stores.