ITOCHU Announces New Expansion of U.S. Brand LeSportsac in China

November 9, 2015

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has established a joint venture company in China with the Hong Kong Novo Fashion Retail Group (headquartered in Hong Kong; Alan Fang, CEO; hereinafter “Novo Group”) for the deployment in China of the American casual bag brand LeSportsac, for which it holds the international trademark. The joint undertaking has been established with a view to strengthening and expanding deployment of the brand in China.

Since acquiring international trademark rights for the LeSportsac brand in 2006, ITOCHU has been accelerating expansion in the United States, Japan, China, Asia, and Europe, as well as in emerging markets, with the brand currently being marketed in 35 countries worldwide. It moved into the Chinese market in 2007, with the conclusion of an exclusive distributorship agreement with the Novo Group, which had been developing retail sales operations for Western fashion brands in several major cities in China. Since then, it has been steadily expanding its operations.

Against a backdrop of economic growth in China, recent years have seen the continued growth of the middle class accompanied by a rapid increase in the proportion of Chinese tourists in the retail markets of neighboring countries such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. With Chinese consumers becoming increasingly important in the global strategy of the LeSportsac brand, it was decided to establish this joint venture company as a means of further strengthening expansion in China.

Direct involvement in the expansion into China of the LeSportsac brand through the joint management of this joint venture company with Novo Group will allow ITOCHU to strengthen its consumer driven marketing by tailoring product development to the needs of Chinese consumers. In terms of sales channels, the number of stores will be expanded to 100 over the next three years, concentrated in major cities, as well as strengthening e-commerce to develop an efficient sales system through O2O (Online to Offline) marketing that transcends the borders of stores and e-commerce website. The aim of these initiatives is to further improve the value of the LeSportsac brand and expand its visibility in the Chinese market, with a view to expanding sales to Chinese consumers in China as well as its neighboring countries.

About the Novo Group

The Novo Group is a retail enterprise based in Hong Kong. Since moving into mainland China in 2005, it has developed domestic retail sales operations in approximately 20 regions in China, introducing more than 1,000 international brands and designer brands. In 2015, it set up the LYNKS Mall, a multi-channel shopping platform bringing together over 1,000 new product brands, ranging from cosmetics, fashion, shoes, and accessories, to daily necessities.

Company name Novo Fashion Retail Group
Representative Alan Fang (CEO)
Head Office Room 1708 Dominion Centre, 43-59 Queen’s Road East
Wantchai, Hong Kong
Established 2003
Employees Approximately 250