Major department stores, facing growing competition from trendy fashion chains such as H&M, Mango and Zara, have jumped on the trend. They're hoping to reap benefits from the lines during the holiday shopping season in November through December, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. Big stores now get as much as a quarter of their sales from celebrity brands, which is up from under 10 percent five years ago, according to market research firm NPD Group.
As interest from stores and shoppers grows, so does the list of celebs with their own lines. Madonna, 54, has a new Truth or Dare line of perfume, over-the-knee lace-up boots and other shoes at several department stores. Nicole Richie, 31, former reality TV star and daughter of singer and songwriter Lionel Richie, earlier this year rolled out an eponymous clothing line of $86.50 floral maxi skirts and $49.50 lace tops on QVC home shopping network.
And singer Jennifer Hudson's new fashion collection was launched on QVC this fall. Her line includes $96.50 hooded jackets, $53 blouses and one of her favorite wardrobe staples â¿¿$50 leggings. Hudson, a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers weight-loss program, says her goal is to appeal to women of all sizes.
"Every piece is a part of me," says Hudson, 31, who recently slimmed down from a size 16 to a 6. "And it came from something that I have worn or would wear."THE PIONEERS Jaclyn Smith, who starred in the popular 1970s series "Charlie's Angels," pioneered the celebrity brand business in 1985 with a line of clothing and accessories at Kmart. For more than a quarter of a century, the line that carries everything from $79 striped trench coats and $49 faux fur trimmed vests to $299.99 artificial Christmas trees and $179 dining sets, has become a staple at the discounter. In fact, the products' success has risen even though Smith, 67, has long been out of the spotlight. Kmart officials declined to give sales figures, but retail consultant Burt Flickinger estimates that the collection rings up about $250 million in annual revenue, which is considered healthy.