ITOCHU Announces Acquisition of Exclusive Right to Sell PrimaLoft in China

January 27, 2014

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that ITOCHU TEXTILE (CHINA) CO., LTD., (hereinafter “ITOCHU TEXTILE”), a Chinese subsidiary of ITOCHU, and PrimaLoft, Inc. of the United States (hereinafter “PrimaLoft, Inc.”) has agreed to the exclusive right in China to sell apparel products and general merchandise made from PrimaLoft, the ultra-fine microfibers manufactured by by PrimaLoft, Inc..
PrimaLoft was developed by Albany International Corp of the United States, a manufacturer of insulation for the Space Shuttle at the beginning of the 1980s. PrimaLoft, Inc. then demerged from the above company in 2012, and the PrimaLoft business has been undertaken by PrimaLoft, Inc. to the present date. From the Fall/Winter 2014 season onward, the company will standardize its brand logo and product names around the world to boost brand recognition globally.

The American military used to utilize natural down for insulation in sleeping bags and jackets in the 1980s. However, as its heat retention properties often deteriorated when camping in inhospitable environments, such as snowy mountains and rainy weather, the military requested Albany International Corp to develop a new material. The material developed by the company was PrimaLoft, and it achieved water repellency that withstands snow and rain (even when water enters the insulation, it repelled the water and remains dry) in addition to excellent heat retention and flexibility, which were the properties of natural down. Initially, it was used as protection against cold climates by the American military, but as its high heat retention and flexibility were recognized, it has become more widely used in a variety of applications, not only as sleeping bags and bedding but also as down jackets produced by famous sports brands and luxury apparel brands as an alternative to high-grade goose down.

Ever since ITOCHU acquired the exclusive right to sell PrimaLoft products and the right to use the trademark in the Japanese bedding market in 2000, the company has been building a long-term relationship of trust with PrimaLoft Inc. as one of its partners. This particular contract has been concluded based on this strong bond of trust and the company's time-proven track record.
Natural down has held a dominant share in the Chinese market for warm winter clothing. However, the price of natural down has been escalating due to the change in food culture and the avian flu pandemic, and consumer tastes have changed as the overseas brands are gaining ground in China. For these reasons, PrimaLoft has arguably strong potential in China based on the high level of popularity it has already established in Europe, the United States, Japan and South Korea.
Through ITOCHU TEXTILE, ITOCHU aims to increase sales of PrimaLoft to around 100 million yuan (around 1.7 billion yen in terms of retail price) in three years by expanding the product portfolio in the Chinese market while exploiting new sales channels and making use of the advantageous sales route for materials and products that has already been established between the company and its existing Chinese apparel partners.

New logo from Fall/Winter 2014

The brand logo will be renewed to spread the standardized global message to users worldwide.


Outline of PrimaLoft, Inc.

Company Name PrimaLoft, Inc.
Representative     Michael Joyce
Head Office New York State, the United States
Established June 2012
Business Development and sales of highly functional insulation, fabric and yarn

Main applications of PrimaLoft

1. Insulation for winter clothing
2. Insulation for protection against the cold in gloves and shoes
3. Material for fleece jackets
4. Yarn for functional underwear, etc.