LOS ANGELES — Action sports company Quiksilver Inc. said Tuesday that it entered into a joint venture with Russia-based sports brand Sprandi International Ltd., which will have the exclusive rights to design, manufacture, market and distribute Quiksilver and Roxy branded products in Russia.

Quiksilver has a controlling interest in the venture, said spokesman Josh Katz, who declined to give percentages. The deal will replace the one Quiksilver had with Russian distribution company Trassa.

“We think the opportunity is sizable,” Katz said. “But more important than the numbers that would come out of Russia would be … the opportunity to establish a foothold for all of Eastern Europe.”

The joint venture will establish a Russian distribution network of Quiksilver-owned retail stores. The first store is to open in Moscow in October. St. Petersburg is another market the company will “certainly” be entering, Katz said.

Quiksilver will be the exclusive developer of all Russian stores — both company-owned and franchised. It also will have a “guiding role,” said Katz, “particularly in terms of marketing practices.”

The venture is also expected to be a catalyst for a Quiksilver wholesale business that will include licensed retail stores, small independent retail chains and large department stores. Licensed stores could potentially be owned and operated by the privately held Sprandi International.

Sprandi International launched in 1995 as a sports footwear company in the Eastern European and Russian markets. It designs, produces, distributes and retails footwear and apparel under the Sprandi and Earth Gear brands through wholesale and 90 Sprandi-branded shops in Russia.

“We believe that a strong business in Russia will serve as a model and, potentially, as an operating platform to grow our business in a variety of other attractive markets throughout Eastern Europe,” Bernard Mariette, president of Quiksilver, said in a statement.

This story first appeared in the June 28, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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