The New York Post reported this morning that New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who popularized low cost basketball shoes with his "Starbury" brand at retailer Steve & Barry's, spent Wednesday in Seattle signing a deal with Amazonto sell the sneakers on their web site.
Although Steve & Barry's filed for bankruptcy reorganization on that very same day, and it appears like part of the plan is to close stores, sources tell me that Marbury's contract is still active. That makes me wonder how he'd have the authority to sign this deal.
And while Marbury appears to own the right to the name "Starbury," it's unclear if he owns the logo. It's also not clear at this point who would be making the shoe for Amazon.com. Marbury's marketing representatives at The Agency didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
You'd have to think that the vendor that made the sneaker for Steve & Barry's wouldn't necessarily pick up the slack. And for Marbury to run this operation on his own--no way Steve & Barry's would assist here--I'm not sure he could possibly turn around production on shoes by the end of the year.
The Starbury shoes, which originally sold at $14.98 and were dropped to $8.98 and $9.98 in December, were the hit of Steve & Barry's. Not having an online home to buy the shoes was a key draw to traffic in its stores.
With buyers on the prowl for the retailer, which has 275 stores, the loss of the Starbury shoes would be a troubling sign. If the brands that Steve & Barry's built itself on start to leave, combined with the fact that vendors who haven't gotten paid will stop shipping, there's going to be nothing proprietary for a company like Searsother than the retail space.
Although some vendors are certainly lined up as creditors now, just waiting to be paid, both Marbury and Steve & Barry's other big athlete licensee Venus Williams have so far been paid in full for their product's sales.
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