ITOCHU Announces New Development in Footwear for U.S. Brand K-SWISS
July 8, 2015
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) expects to reach an agreement with K-SWISS INC. (headquartered in California, United States; Larry Remington, CEO) on the acquisition of the exclusive rights to the import and distribution of footwear for the sports brand K-SWISS in the Japanese market. The exclusive import and distribution will commence in full scale from spring/summer 2016 through Converse Footwear Co., Ltd. (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Manabu Fukugaki, President & CEO).
K-SWISS is a sports brand that originated with tennis shoes launched by the Brunner brothers of Switzerland in California in 1966. The Brunner brothers, who were also skiers and tennis players, were inspired by the functionality of leather ski boots and launched the Classic, the world’s first all-leather high-quality tennis shoe. Designed to be worn in tennis matches, the Classic gained overwhelming support from top athletes. Staying true to its brand concept of “Heritage American Tennis,” the Classic continues to gain support from a wide range of fashion-conscious people, including trendsetters, as a lifestyle brand that has strength in terms of both fashionable and athletic aspects.
In 2004, ITOCHU Corporation acquired the master license rights to the fashion category of the K-SWISS brand, excluding footwear, in the Japanese market. Currently, casual wear for men, women and children, children’s clothes, eyewear and many other items are developed and marketed through casual clothing stores, sports equipment shops, shopping malls and other outlets. ITOCHU Corporation will begin distributing footwear, the brand’s core item, in 2016 when K-SWISS marks its 50th anniversary, and strongly emphasize the brand’s perspective in the Japanese market and strive to enhance the brand’s value. Focusing on outlets such as highly-conscious boutiques and specialty stores, K-SWISS will bolster its branding and aim to achieve sales of 800 million yen in the initial launch year and two billion yen after five years in the footwear category on a retail price basis.