Jessica Simpson's brand now officially brings in a remarkable $1 billion in annual sales, which is more than the revenue at American Apparel, Bebe and Sotheby's, and in the ballpark of shoe marvel Crocs.
The pop star just agreed to sell a majority interest in her brand to Sequential Brands Group, which owns, manages and licenses labels including Ellen Tracy, Heelys and William Rast, according to a statement today. The release disclosed that annual retail sales for the brand, founded in 2005, are about $1 billion, which it's often been estimated at. That's up from the $750 million that New York magazine said it brought in during 2010.
That's pretty huge in the grand scheme of the retail world. You've likely seen the Jessica Simpson Collection's shoes, clothes, bags and home goods at chains such as Macy's, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom Rack and even Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Simpson has been able to create a legitimately large business through selling goods to the average American woman at department stores and discounters. Prices for the merchandise online aren't bad — shoes, the first product out of the brand, go for $60 to $70 a pair, dresses cost $70, and tops sell for $50 online. On the Macy's website, shirts are discounted to $15 and $30 a pop while pants are going for $20.
What the licensing deal probably means is more Jessica Simpson, around the world, and with her name slapped on even more new products, which is kind of amazing when you consider she was best known 15 years ago for being a virginal pop star dating the frontman of 98 Degrees and then starring in a reality show documenting their brief marriage. Since then, she's built her label around catering to women of all shapes and sizes, crediting its success to her ability to "relate to the heart of every woman."
"The key for organic growth in this brand will be to expand into international markets with a line that is, in many respects, a very American women focused in terms of sensibilities and color palette," Eric Beder, an analyst at Wunderlich Securities, wrote in a note today. "We believe the Jessica Simpson expansion will be a solid test of management's ability to creatively expand the line."
As for Simpson, she said in the release that she's "as committed as I was ten years ago."
"Here's to the next billion," she said.