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Michael Kors gets a toehold in men’s shoes with Jimmy Choo purchase

Jimmy Choo will give Michael Kors a leg up in men’s shoes

Michael Kors Holdings Ltd.’s purchase of Jimmy Choo is a pathway into the luxury men’s shoe department.

As part of the $1.2 billion deal, Michael Kors KORS, +0.06% said it sees the opportunity to grow Jimmy Choo into a $1 billion brand, better position itself in the luxury footwear space, and expand in luxury accessories.

Michael Kors also has its eye on men’s footwear, saying in the deal announcement that Jimmy Choo is “adding a twist to classic shapes” in men’s evening shoes.

“Women’s shoes are at the heart of this leading fashion luxury house complemented by accessories,” said Michael Kors Chief Executive John Idol, according to a FactSet transcript of the acquisition call Tuesday morning. “In addition, the company has built a significant credibility in men’s footwear with an assortment that extends from evening to active styles.”

Retail sales of men’s designer footwear have grown faster than women’s designer shoes over the last three years, according to data provided by Euromonitor International, a market research provider. Still, women’s luxury footwear is the bigger market, generating $17.7 billion in 2016. Men’s luxury shoes generated $9.6 billion in global retail sales last year. According to Pedro Aguilar, personal accessories analyst at Euromonitor International, “that disparity is unlikely to narrow significantly over the next decade.”

More broadly, the purchase is a way for Michael Kors to maintain its luxury status. The company is pulling back from the wholesale channel to better...