J.C. Penney is ending a licensing deal with the William Rast clothing line, founded by Justin Timberlake in 2005, about 18 months earlier than expected.
The retailer, which inked an agreement with the line under former Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson in November 2011, amended the deal on Christmas Eve to end on June 30, 2014, instead of Jan. 30, 2016, according to a regulatory filing today. William Rast, which was previously exclusive to J.C. Penney, is now able to enter licensing agreements with other sellers. The shift is part of a broader move by J.C. Penney to remove trendy brands introduced under Johnson so it can beef up the presence of its private-label lines and other mainstays among older, traditional shoppers of the chain.
Timberlake and friend Trace Ayala started William Rast in 2005. The brand "mixes unexpected fabrics, textures and premium washes but stays true to the heritage of American denim," as per J.C. Penney's website. "Each tailored look is as effortless as it is adventurous."
Only 10 William Rast products are available on J.C. Penney's website, and all of them are on clearance for 50% off, ranging in price from $9.99 to $29.99.
Sapna Maheshwari is a business reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Maheshwari reports on retail and e-commerce.
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