WMA shopping Saks

Gotham clothier inks deal for representation

High-end New York clothier Saks Fifth Avenue, which operates 61 department stores, has hired the William Morris Agency to make deals that would partner Saks with entertainment events or media companies to promote the Saks name.

“Today’s retail environment demands an enriched customer experience,” said Stephen Sadove, vice chairman of Saks. “Select media and entertainment integration can help you achieve that.”

Recently, casino operator Harrah’s Entertainment wanted to bolster the image of its Rio Hotel in Las Vegas as a destination for younger tourists and gamblers. William Morris put Harrah’s together with men’s mag Maxim to sponsor an event to attract upscale young rollers to the hotel.

Other WMA corporate clients include General Motors; Web auctioneer eBay; and cell-phone maker Nokia, for which WMA recently brokered a deal for the sponsorship of the Prime Time Emmy Awards kudocast.

While the first quarter saw Saks operating profits increase by 25%, company still posted a first-quarter loss as it adopted new goodwill accounting procedures. The retailer reported a loss of slightly more than $25 million, or the equivalent of 17¢ per share for the three months ended May 4, compared with a profit of $26.5 million, or 18¢ per share for that same time a year ago.

(Reuters and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)