Design, Manufacturing & Distribution License Agreement of Global Surf Brand O'Neill within Japan

September 6, 2010

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) has recently concluded a master licensing agreement with O’Neill Brand S.A.R.L. (headquartered in Luxemburg; Raymond Hegarty, Managing Director) covering the full lineup of surf brand O’NEILL, excluding wetsuits and sunglasses. This agreement will be operative in the Japanese market. Nikki Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Chuo-ku, Osaka; Keisuke Niki, President; hereinafter “Nikki”) will become the primary sublicensee from Spring/Summer 2011 in the manufacturing and distribution of sportswear, swimwear and snow outerwear for men, women and children.

The O’Neill brand was born when Jack O’Neill, a renowned surfing innovator, wanted to surf longer in cold waters. He developed the world’s first wetsuit in California, inspired by U.S. Navy diving suits. His name and the reputation of his wetsuit immediately spread from the West Coast across the continental United States, offering a new experience for surfers. The O’Neill brand, established in Santa Cruz, California in 1952 with Jack O’Neill’s development of the wetsuit and the opening of the world’s first surf shop, is now an international brand sold worldwide.

Other than wetsuits, O’Neill designs and produces action sports products in general, from surf trunks and swimwear to snow wear. The brand supports numerous athletes in fields ranging from surfing and snowboarding to windsurfing and wakeboarding. Global riders under contract include Jordy Smith, the current leader on the 2010 World Champion Tour, and Japanese riders such as Izuki Tanaka and Erina Taniguchi.

Nikki will manufacture products that respect Jack O’Neill’s values and O’Neill’s identity as a global surf brand, aiming at its core target of youths from their teens to their twenties. Among the items slated for manufacturing and distribution are sportswear, swimwear, sandals, socks and snow outerwear for men, women and children. Planned distribution channels include roadside stores under Nikki’s direct operation, department stores, general sports chains, surf shops, casual wear stores, fashion retailers (“select shops”) and online stores. Nikki plans to open 15 stores in the next five years, including two direct-run stores, eight booths within general sports chains and surf shops, and five outlet stores. It aims for 2 billion yen in retail sales in the first year, expanding to 5 billion yen in annual sales within five years. Nikki plans to develop the brand as its core brand over the medium- to long-term.

ITOCHU intends to reach sub-licensing agreements with other brand-name manufacturers, encompassing accessories such as bags, caps, underwear, gloves, belts and towels, for the Japanese market.

Nikki will present the 2011 Spring/Summer O’Neill Debut Collection display on September 8-10 at its Osaka Head Office Showroom and on September 15-17 at the Tokyo Head Office Showroom.

Corporate profile

Corporate name Nikki Co., Ltd.
Representative Representative
Head office 4-7 Kitakyuhoji-cho 3-chome, Chuo-ku, Osaka
Founded September 1946
Capital 200 million yen
Number of employees 1,280 (Consolidated terms)
Net sales 12.7 billion yen (Result for term ending March 2010)
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