Pepe Jeans London is preparing for a second British Invasion of the U.S.
The London-based jeans company has bought back the rights to its name and trademarks in the U.S. and Canada, and is planning to relaunch the brand in those markets during the fall and winter 2012 seasons.
Pepe’s move to take the brand in-house for North America follows a period in which it’s experienced a resurgence in Europe and begun to expand its operations in Asia and Latin America. The brand is sold in over 7,000 wholesale doors spanning 30 countries and operates about 300 stores of its own. However, North American activity has been limited to a handful of stores in Mexico and a limited wholesale clientele that includes Dr. Jays. While the in-house line generally has sold at premium price points, much of the U.S. product is sold at $25 to $30.
The U.S. and Canadian rights to Pepe have been held since 2000 by Jean Design, headed by Ziad Jebara. Jebara is the brother of Assad Jebara, president and chief executive officer of Alpha Garment, which markets Zana-Di Jeans.
Financial terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. Pepe had no comment on the strategy for its North American initiative other than to say that details would be disclosed in “coming months” and that it was in the process of searching for a ceo to head U.S. operations.
In addition to its core jeans line, Pepe markets 73, a premium denim collection, and the Andy Warhol by Pepe Jeans collection, launched in 2007. It acquired the Hackett brand in 2006.
An investor in Pepe since 2005, the Spanish private equity group Torreal SA holds a 31 percent stake in the company while its management, led by Carlos Ortega, owns 30 percent. L Capital, the private equity arm of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and Arta Capital invested in the company in 2010 and own 12 percent and 16 percent of its equity, respectively. L Capital took a 60 percent stake in direct sales fashion firm Captain Tortue Group last month.
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