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Fifth & Pacific changing its name to Kate Spade

Fifth & Pacific changing name and CEO as it shifts focus solely to Kate Spade

NEW YORK (AP) -- Fifth & Pacific Companies Inc. said Thursday that it is changing its top leadership and its name as part of narrowing business focus on luxury.

The clothing company, once known as Liz Claiborne Inc., will be renamed Kate Spade & Co. in February to reflect its focus on the high-end clothing and accessories brand. William McComb, CEO of Fifth & Pacific, will step down and be replaced by Craig Leavitt, who is currently chief executive of Kate Spade.

Additionally, George Carrrara, currently executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the company, will serve as president and chief operating officer of Kate Spade.

The company said that it expects to incur non-cash severance charges of $16 million and cash severance charges of $7 million related to the management changes.

It's all part of an ongoing evolution at the clothing company, which has sold off the weaker parts of its business over the past few years and cut debt in an effort to focus on the performance of remaining brands. It sold the Liz Claiborne brand in 2012 and the Juicy Couture brand last year. It is in the process of completing the sale of its Lucky Brand Jeans business. It continues hold the license for some Liz Claiborne products and sells some jewelery to other retailers.

Fifth & Pacific plans to make the changes after it releases its fourth-quarter financial results on Feb. 25. The company will then begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "KATE".

The company on Thursday also gave a weak forecast for the year, forecasting revenue between $1.32 billion and $1.33 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating $1.77 billion.

Fifth & Pacific also said that, based on preliminary measures, its direct sales to consumers rose 30 percent for the Kate Spade brand during its fourth quarter and 5 percent for Lucky Brand. The figure includes online sales.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects its revenue from Kate Spade will increase 10 to 13 percent for 2014 over its 2013 revenue.

Shares fell nearly 3 percent to $30.98 in after-hours trading. Its shares added 48 cents to close at $31.86.