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Hartmarx Corporation Acquires Pusser's Ltd. Wholesale Apparel Business: Forms a Strategic Alliance with the British Virgin Islands Company.

CHICAGO and TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Hartmarx Corporation (NYSE: HMX) and Pusser's Ltd. have announced the formation of a strategic venture to expand the marketing of Pusser's pubs, restaurants and apparel. As a strategic partner, Hartmarx acquires the wholesale apparel business and trademarks while working in close alliance with Pusser's Ltd. This association will further develop the Pusser's lifestyle concept.

Prior to the agreement, Pusser's operated restaurant and retail apparel entities in the British Virgin Islands, San Juan, P.R. and in the U.S. at Annapolis, MD; Wrightsville Beach, NC; Charleston, SC; and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Recently, Pusser's initiated a wholesale apparel collection resulting from a demand created by their Caribbean presence. Pusser's Ltd. will now concentrate on growing its retail operations. For the Spring 1999 season, Hartmarx will commence expansion of a major wholesale sportswear business under the Pusser's of the West Indies trademarks.

"Charles Tobias, Chairman and Founder of Pusser's Ltd., stated, "I believe we have created a unique tropical and nautical apparel brand based on our real life experiences in the tropics where we started more than 20 years ago. We are really down here; we really started here; and like our clothes, we are authentic! We know a lot about the tropics and a lot about the sea which surrounds us. And I think our apparel shows it.

"What we call the Pusser's Experience is well known to many thousands of upscale consumers who have visited our Pusser's Landings while sailing in the Caribbean. The Stateside demand for our apparel products was developing at a faster rate than our Company could handle. It was obvious that we required a professional partner if we were going to move to the market in volume. Thus, we are thrilled with our Hartmarx partnership. As far as we're concerned, there is no one in the U.S. more qualified to fully capitalize on what the Pusser's West Indies lifestyle concept has to offer."

Elbert 0. Hand, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hartmarx, said "Pusser's of the West Indies is exciting and appealing because it's authentic. Charles Tobias has created an intriguing lifestyle concept based on many years of personal sailing and expedition endeavors. Pusser's apparel will provide a totally new offering to the American sportswear market. As a full men's and women's collection, we expect our wholesale launch to America's quality retailers to make an early and significant impact."

Pusser's Ltd., a British Virgin Islands corporation, operates pubs, restaurants and apparel shops under the Pusser's of the West Indies trademarks.

Hartmarx Corporation produces and markets business, casual and golf apparel for both men and women under its own brands, including Hart Schaffner & Marx and Hickey-Freeman, and has certain exclusive rights under licensing agreements to market selected products under a number of premier brands including Austin Reed, Tommy Hilfiger, Bobby Jones and Jack Nicklaus.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:5BRIT
Date:Nov 5, 1998
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