Japanese firm Itochu Corp has acquired the master license rights for the US fashion label LLBean in Japan and the whole sales rights for imported products.
Under the agreement, Itochu will appoint Minoya Co for product development and wholesale sales of licensed apparel products and Sunriver Co for wholesale sales of imported products.
Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, LLBean is known for clothing and outdoor recreation equipment. The brand currently operates 90 retail stores globally, including 28 directly managed stores in Japan. The LLBean International’s Japan branch will continue to operate the catalogue and e-commerce business and directly-managed stores.
“Targeting outdoor enthusiasts, we will develop sales channels such as select shops, outdoor specialty stores, and sports retailers,” Itochu Corp said in a statement. Itochu said besides apparel it will also develop new licensing categories.
The group earlier this year acquired rights to Forever 21, saying it will start the brand’s e-commerce sales in Japan in February before rolling out physical stores in the country. Forever 21 opened its first store in Japan in 2009 and exited the market a decade later.
Itochu and Authentic Brands Group also announced plans to expand the US outdoor brand Eddie Bauer in Japan, which will see the opening of the brand’s new freestanding stores, expand shop-in-shop locations and specialty accounts, and relaunch the brand’s e-commerce early next year.