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(ENGLEWOOD, CO) May 23, 2011 - Collective Licensing International (CLI), the company that owns and manages the Airwalk brand, announced today a new multi-year agreement with ITOCHU Corporation (ITOCHU) of Japan to become the master licensee of the Airwalk brand in China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Under the agreement, ITOCHU will hold the master license for Airwalk across all merchandise categories for the three territories and will design and produce footwear, apparel and general merchandise for all categories in partnership with Shanghai Sport 100 Company Limited which serves as the retail and wholesale distribution partner for the brand.
As part of the new agreement, ITOCHU is also spearheading a significant retail growth plan for the brand in China with about 40 retail locations to feature Airwalk products across the country by the end of 2011. The retail locations are Airwalk shop-in-shops located in department and sporting goods stores. The first four shop-in-shops opened in Shanghai late last month.
Additional metropolitan locations for Airwalk shops-in-shops include locations in Bejing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Sport 100 is also selling Airwalk products via wholesale to additional multi-brand stores throughout China.
“With a century of business under its belt, ITOCHU is an ideal partner for us to launch and drive the growth of the Airwalk brand in China,” said Bruce Pettet, president and CEO of CLI.
"ITOCHU will be critical to the continued global success of Airwalk. We look forward to a great collaboration with the goal of elevating the brand with the global youth consumer base.”
Established in 1986, Airwalk is among the most recognized board sports and youth lifestyle brands in the world. This year, the brand celebrates its 25th anniversary with its global network of more than 50 strategic brand partners enabling Airwalk branded products in nearly 100 countries around the world.
“Airwalk is a very important brand in the U.S. and in Asia, and we are confident in its future in the Chinese market with the extensive marketing tools that Collective provides its partners,” said Mr. Hitoshi Okamoto, president of ITOCHU. “We have no doubt that our partnership will be very successful.”
ITOCHU has established a sub-licensing agreement with the major Chinese sports retail chain SPORT 100 (Shanghai Sport100 Co., Ltd.), and will utilize the company’s sales network to kick off its expansion of the Airwalk brand into China.
The announcement comes on the heels of the Asia X Games 2011 in Shanghai, where members of the Airwalk skate team took several podium titles. Skateboarder Andy Macdonald won his fourth Asia X Games gold medal in Vert, while street skater Tulio Oliveira earned bronze in the Street category. While in Shanghai, the athletes made appearances at the newly opened Airwalk Shanghai retail location.
Collective Licensing International, LLC, a subsidiary of Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE:PSS), was formed in January 2004 and is the owner and/or license operator of Airwalk®, Above The Rim®, Vision Street Wear®, Clinch Gear™, STRIKEFORCE™, Sims®, Lamar® and LTD®, World Snowboarding Championships™ and Hind®. Collective Licensing International is based in Englewood, Colorado. www.collectiveintl.com
Founded in 1858, ITOCHU has evolved and grown to become the leading multi-brand sports and leisure product manufacturers supplying retail stores across the regions with several successful licensed endeavors.
With approximately 150 bases in 74 countries, ITOCH is engaging in domestic trading, import/export, and overseas trading of various products such as textile, machinery, information and communications technology, aerospace, electronics, energy, metals, minerals, chemicals, forest products, general merchandise, food, finance, realty, insurance, and logistics services, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas.