Craig Leavitt

Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.

Kate Spade has taken another step toward its goal of being the next Ralph Lauren by announcing new lines of furniture and home goods. On Tuesday, the company announced it's entering into four new licensing agreements to expand into furniture, bedding, bath, wallpaper, rugs and other household items. "The breadth of our home décor line will feature products at all access points in both pricing and distribution from an $8 notebook to an $8,000 piece of furniture," Kate Spade CEO Craig Leavitt said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.

In the fashion business, it seems, everybody wants to be Ralph Lauren. The company epitomizes the so-called aspirational lifestyle brand, able to book huge sales at premium prices for everything from clothing to furniture to dinnerware. Kate Spade, another designer-inspired company, dreamed of following that path. In 2008, it recruited Craig Leavitt, a Ralph Lauren executive, as its CEO. But while shoppers continue to fawn over its colorful totes, satchels and clutches — sales were up more than 40 percent in 2014 — the company is learning that creating a buzzy lifestyle brand is more difficult than it seems. 

Kate Spade wants to be Ralph Lauren. Looking to quadruple retail sales to $4 billion, the handbag maker is modeling itself on Lauren's empire: a global lifestyle brand selling everything from apparel to home goods. Kate Spade & Co.'s Chief Executive Officer Craig Leavitt is focusing on categories with ready appeal — fragrances, jewelry, watches, sunglasses — and offering a range of price points to attract millennials on one end and luxury shoppers at the other. "Ralph Lauren is our business analog," said Leavitt, a former Lauren lieutenant who joined Kate Spade in 2008. 

It's no secret that Kate Spade New York is an all-star in digital competence, so perhaps it also shouldn't come as a surprise that its new, lower-priced brand dubbed Saturday will launch online as well as in brick-and-mortar stores come spring. "This is not a diffusion line," said Craig Leavitt, president of Kate Spade. "The entire brand is a vertical proposition; Saturday will stand alone in its own stores and online." 

New York -- Kate Spade New York announced Thursday that it will buy its Japanese JV partner Sanei International’s 51% share in Kate Spade Japan. The move, said Kate Spade, is part of an aggressive international push that includes recent store openings in the United Kingdom, Dubai and Kuwait, as well as further expansion into Brazil with additional store openings in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo planned for this summer. "Kate Spade New York has a long and successful history in the Asian market,” said Craig Leavitt, CEO, Kate Spade New York. “It is our strategy to build

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