ITOCHU Announces Acquisition of the Exclusive Right of Import and Distribution and the Master License of “Laura Ashley” Brand

September 14, 2018

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & Chief Operating Officer; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has acquired the exclusive right of import and distribution and the master license in the Japanese market of the lifestyle brand Laura Ashley, which originates from the U.K. From September 18, 2018, ITOCHU will offer the brand through department stores and specialty stores all over Japan.

Laura & Bernard Ashley, the founders of the Laura Ashley brand, started a print business using original textiles designed by Laura at their home in London, the U.K., in 1953. Since then, their items have expanded into kitchen goods, fashion items and home furnishings. The brand has grown into a lifestyle brand offered in more than twenty countries around the world. In recent years, Laura Ashley Hotel and Laura Ashley Tea Room, which represents the brand’s worldview, have appeared. This worldview of Laura, who cherished the nature of her hometown in Wales and her family more than anything else, has been preserved and maintained for well over half a century, and still attracts fans from all over the world.

In offering the Laura Ashley brand under the rights described above, ITOCHU intends to expand the offering at major department stores, specialty stores and other channels while maintaining the tradition and philosophy of the brand together with sub-licensees. In addition, ITOCHU will further bolster the value of the Laura Ashley brand and showcase the appeal of the brand to new customer groups through an official e-commerce site and directly managed shops, to be launched with target retail sales of 8.0 billion yen in three years.