Cole Haan sale not expected to mean a Scarborough exit

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SCARBOROUGH — Cole Haan’s Ashley Drive company headquarters have been a part of the Scarborough business scene for only a year, but there is hope the scene won’t change despite the company’s sale last week.

“There’s no reason to think they will leave,” Harvey Rosenfeld, Scarborough Economic Development Corp. executive director, said.

Founded almost 85 years ago, and owned by Oregon-based Nike since 1988, Cole Haan was sold to Apax Partners for $570 million in a deal announced last Friday. Nike officials said the sale of the designer and retailer of leather footwear, apparel and accessories should be completed early next year.

Apax is a global equity firm, and will work with former Converse Chief Executive Jack Boys to operate the company, according to an Apax news release. Apax has also played a part in acquisitions and investments involving apparel designers Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.

Rosenfeld and SEDCO Communications Manager Karen Martin said they are still waiting for a full response from Cole Haan officials about what the sale may mean. The company has more than 100 stores in the U.S. and almost 70 more in Canada, Japan and China.

Because Cole Haan no longer manufactures its own products, Rosenfeld said he thought it less likely the sale will result in any move from Scarborough. The company moved to town last year from Yarmouth.

“It was fairly easy, we had the space,” Rosenfeld said about attracting the company.

Alex Pellegrini, a partner at Apax Retail and Consumer, welcomed the addition.

“Cole Haan is an iconic brand with broad consumer appeal and we believe the brand has even greater opportunities in the future. We look forward to investing in the Company to achieve this growth,” Pellegrini said.

The sale came after Nike said it decided to concentrate more on its athletic footwear and apparel. About three weeks before the sale of Cole Haan, Nike sold its English-based Umbro line of soccer gear to Iconix Brand Group.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.