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PUMA® NORTH AMERICA PARTNERS WITH WHEAT GROUP INC. TO CREATE NEW ACCESSORIES JOINT VENTURE
PUMA Wheat Accessories Launches to Grow Sportlifestyle Brand’s Accessories Business
WESTFORD, MA (June 6, 2011) – Sportlifestyle brand, PUMA® and premiere accessories design and development company, The Wheat Group Inc. today announced the creation of a joint venture, PUMA Wheat Accessories, fully focused on the development and growth of the US accessories business for PUMA.
The joint venture’s day to day operations will be serviced by The Wheat Group, Inc. based in San Diego, California, who will be responsible for the design, development, sales, production and distribution of PUMA bags, headwear, and other accessories in the United States, under the close direction and supervision from PUMA North America and PUMA’s global design team.
PUMA Wheat Accessories will go to market with their first PUMA collection for the Spring 2012 season, with early introductions of the line in Holiday 2011 for select strategic retail partners.
“Partnering with The Wheat Group will give PUMA an opportunity to grow our existing accessories business. Given Wheat’s extensive experience andsuccess in this category as well as the synergies between our company beliefs and principles, PUMA North American knew this would be a strong fit,” said Jay Piccola, President and General Manager of PUMA North America. “The creation of PUMA Wheat Accessories will bring the focused attention on the US marketplace and help accelerate our business to the next level.”
The selection of PUMA bags and headwear designed and produced through PUMA Wheat Accessories will target the specific US consumer and account needs while complimenting PUMA’s global accessories range. PUMA Wheat Accessories will focus on developing ranges across key PUMA business classifications, Running, Soccer and Lifestyle, as well as key market categories: sport duffels, backpacks, handbags, headwear, luggage, sport equipment, consumer electronic accessories and small accessories.
PUMA Wheat Accessories will actively partner with PUMA’s key account base to foster and grow new opportunities while expanding into new channels of distribution. PUMA Wheat Accessories will look to create an accessory range that seamlessly integrates the PUMA brand DNA with the functional benefits and esthetic needs of today’s US consumer, bringing a true customer centric approach to the accessories development process.
“The Wheat Group is proud to enter in this strategic alliance and joint venture with PUMA. We have long admired the brand for their position in the marketplace and our partnership will only look to enhance and grow the PUMA business in the United States and bring the consumer PUMA accessories they will covet,” said Chad Grismer, Chief Executive Officer of The Wheat Group and President of PUMA Wheat Accessories. “We look forward to building on the incredible heritage of the PUMA brand and propelling the business forward through innovation and continuing the tradition of great PUMA design.”
In addition to this exciting new joint venture, PUMA North America’s sister company, Cobra PUMA Golf, will be entering into a licensing deal with The Wheat Group for Cobra and PUMA Golf accessories.
PUMA is one of the world’s leading Sportlifestyle companies that designs and develops footwear, apparel and accessories. It is committed to working in ways that contribute to the world by supporting Creativity, SAFE Sustainability and Peace, and by staying true to the principles of being Fair, Honest, Positive and Creative in decisions made and actions taken. PUMA starts in Sport and ends in Fashion. Its Sport Performance and Lifestyle labels include categories such as Football, Running, Motorsports, Golf and Sailing. Sport Fashion features collaborations with renowned designer labels such as Alexander McQueen, MiharaYasuhiro and Sergio Rossi. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Cobra Golf and Tretorn. The company, which was founded in 1948, distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 9,000 people worldwide and has headquarters in Herzogenaurach/Germany, Boston, London andHong Kong. For more information, please visit www.puma.com
THE WHEAT GROUP, INC. specializes in the design, development, sales and distribution of accessories. Passionate about surfing and skateboarding, brothers Chad (CEO) and KellyGrismer (President) founded the company within the walls of their San Diego beach front surf/skate shop to provide their consumers with additional accessories that the brands their store carried weren’t offering. The early product offerings quickly turned into a private label business as the brothers were now designing, developing and manufacturing accessories for nearly all of the brands that it used to sell in its stores. The company officially incorporated in 1994 as “The Wheat Group, Inc” when it entered into its first accessory license agreement. In 2000, third brother Bryan joined the company as the Chief Creative Officer/principal. Today, the company serves nearly every tier of retail distribution and proudly licenses the accessory categories for the: Hurley,Skullcandy and Modern Amusement brands.
THE WHEAT GROUP, INC. has offices in San Diego, Minneapolis, Boston and a sourcing/development and quality assurance facility in Dongguan China and distributes to over 30 countries.