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Kellwood Co., the St. Louis-based marketer, merchandiser and manufacturer of apparel, has buttoned down a licensing agreement to produce men' dress shirts under the prestigious Nautica name.
With the agreement, Kellwood's Smart Shirts Ltd. makes a foray into the branded shirt market. Smart Shirts already is one of the largest makers of private label shirts in the world.
"Kellwood has done that in their other apparel business by acquiring producers of branded products, and now they are doing it in their own shirt business by paying a royalty (to Nautica)," said Jay Meltzer, an analyst with Johnson Redbook in New York.
Meltzer said Nautica, primarily a …