ITOCHU Announces Acquisition of Master License Rights and Wholesale Distribution Rights for L.L.Bean Brand
December 12, 2022
ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has acquired master license rights and imported products’ wholesale distribution rights in the Japanese market for L.L.Bean brand from L.L.Bean International (headquartered in Freeport, Maine, the U.S.; Stephen M.Smith, CEO; hereinafter “LLBI”). ITOCHU will start its business via MINOYA CO., LTD (headquartered in Gifu City, Gifu; Morihiko Kinomura, President & Chief Executive Officer; hereinafter “Minoya”) and Sunriver Inc. (headquartered in Osaka City, Osaka; Takashi Shimizu, President & Chief Executive Officer; hereinafter “Sunriver”) from January 2023 onward.
L.L.Bean is an outdoor clothing brand founded in the State of Maine, the U.S. in 1912 by an outdoor enthusiast, Leon Leonwood Bean. “Bean Boots,” the brand’s point of origin, grabbed the hearts of outdoor lovers around the U.S. as comfortable, heavy-duty boots when it was created more than 100 years ago. Ever since, it has been loved all over the world. Thereafter, a number of long-selling products boasting of revolutionary design and quality, such as tote bags, field coats and fleece, have been created one after another. While focusing on the catalog and online sales as its mainstay, LLBI develops and operates 90 retail stores globally. Net sales for FY2021 amount to approx. 250 billion yen on the retail sales base.
LLBI Japanese branch will continue handling the catalog/online business and operation of directly managed stores in Japan. Meanwhile, in this new partnership, ITOCHU has contracted Minoya for development and wholesale of licensed apparel products (Japan Edition) and Sunriver for wholesale of the imported products. The products will be rolled out through the sales channels consisting of select shops, outdoor specialty stores and mass retailers of sports goods, targeting fashion-conscious consumers and outdoor enthusiasts. Moving forward, ITOCHU will develop new license categories in addition to apparel products.
ITOCHU aims at creating a new business with a 5 billion yen retail sales base in five years by leveraging its extensive experience and knowledge of the brand business, Minoya’s solid know-how in product development and sales and Sunriver’s vast wholesale network in Japan, in addition to the existing business run by LLBI Japanese branch.