States Reach Price-fixing Settlement With Nine West Shoe Co.

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that women's programs throughout New York will receive $2 million as part of a nationwide price-fixing settlement with shoe manufacturer Nine West Group, Inc.

Spitzer, along with Attorneys General from Florida, Texas, and Ohio, led negotiations that yielded a $34 million nationwide settlement with Nine West.

The states had charged that the women's shoe company had entered into illegal agreements with stores to fix the retail price of women's shoes between January of 1988 and July of 1999.

"I'm pleased that as a result of this creative settlement, both consumers and women's programs throughout the state come up winners," said Spitzer. "New York's $2 million portion of the settlement will be given to a wide variety of programs which benefit women including battered women's shelters, breast and ovarian cancer research, and preventive health programs such as mammography screening."

The Attorneys General, working with the Federal Trade Commission, uncovered evidence that various Nine West divisions had engaged in illegal price- fixing by prohibiting shoe stores from discounting Nine West shoes for certain periods of time.

Nine West is headquartered in White Plains, N.Y. and makes shoes under several brand names, including Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini, Bandolino, Calico and Nine West.

The settlement plan is being submitted today in Federal court in White Plains before Judge Barrington Parker. The plan requires court approval, which is expected to take six to twelve months, and will then trigger release of the settlement monies.

As part of the settlement, Nine West has agreed that for the next five years it will not enter into business practices designed to influence or control the price at which retailers choose to sell the company's shoes. The company also will notify each of its dealers that it is their right to independently determine the price at which Nine West products can be advertised and sold.

As part of the settlement, Nine West admits no wrongdoing or liability.

Spitzer's investigation was led by Assistant Attorneys General Linda Gargiulo and Gary Weinstein, under the direction of Antitrust Bureau Chief Harry First.