Stars Align With Retailers for Fall

Stores Shop for Celebs to Differentiate Their Brands

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NEW YORK ( -- For a healthy dose of celebrity, consumers need not look any further than their local shopping center. From discounters to department stores, retailers are introducing an unprecedented number of exclusive partnerships -- and marketing them heavily -- to win the attention of wary consumers.

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"Our goal is to get the customer to choose Kohl's more often, and we do that by creating a reason to come to Kohl's specifically," said Julie Gardner, exec-VP and chief marketing officer at the retailer. "All of the merchandise offerings that we have that are exclusive help to create Kohl's as a destination."

Indeed, rising gas prices and economic uncertainty have taken a toll on consumer spending, leaving stores in a race to differentiate by signing up a name -- or multiple names. "This seems to be the first time that retailers are interacting with many celebrities at one time to tell different stories," said Ellen Davis, VP at the National Retail Federation. "At this point, unique merchandise is going to be what gets people in the door."

OK, but with so many hookups, how to keep track? Here's a scorecard.
Avril Lavigne is joining the Kohl's family -- which already includes Daisy Fuentes, Vera Wang and Tony Hawk -- with her Abbey Dawn line. Other rockers on the roster: Lenny Kravitz, Hayden Panettiere, Vanessa Carlton, the Plain White T's and the Red Jumpsuit.
Photo: Paul Fenton
What could LL Cool J and Ty Pennington possibly have in common but Sears? The Grammy-award-winning rapper will bring street cred to the struggling retailer with the launch of his apparel line for juniors, young men and children.
Photo: Nancy Kaszerman
It's all in the family at Wal-Mart. Father-son team Master P and Romeo join Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen at the discounter. P. Miller Designs is set to launch its P. Miller and Miller Peaches lines, boasting that items can be picked up "for about the price of a DVD."
Photo: Mary Altaffer
Reality-TV star Kimora Lee Simmons is introducing Fabulosity, a line of urban sportswear for juniors. It will be part of Penney's "Breakfast Club" back-to-school campaign, which launches July 18. She joins designers Chris Madden and Nicole Miller.
Photo: Nancy Kaszerman
"Sex and the City" alum Kristin Davis will put her stamp on a line decidedly more sweet than sexy for the Southern retail chain. The apparel and accessories collection represents the retailer's most high-profile celebrity tie-up to date.
Photo: Nancy Kaszerman
Look for Tommy Hilfiger to star alongside Martha Stewart and Donald Trump in the store's celeb-studded commercials later this year. Beginning this fall, the designer men's and women's sportswear collections will be carried exclusively at Macy's.
Photo: Nancy Kaszerman
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