TOKYO — Guess Inc. confirmed it has signed a licensing agreement for the Japanese market with Itochu Corp. here.
The deal was officially announced at a press conference here Tuesday. Reports of the pact were carried in WWD on Jan. 19.
The new agreement will greatly expand Guess’s presence in Japan. At the press conference, Guess chairman and chief executive officer Maurice Marciano said Japan is a ripe market for Guess goods.
“In the Japanese market, we have seen a lot of influence of American traditional clothes, and there are tremendous numbers of Japanese customers in our Rodeo Drive store,” said Marciano.
Guess jeans, accessories and watches had been imported to Japan through an exclusive agreement with Daichi Showa Co., which ended in 1991. Since then, some Guess products have been imported through other Japanese companies.
The products under the new licenses will be shipped for fall, except for some women’s accessories that will be tested during spring and summer.
The venture is starting out with 12 sublicensees, to be overseen by Itochu.
According to Itochu, retail sales of Guess merchandise are expected to hit $26.9 million (3 billion yen at current exchange) in the first year, with the figure climbing to $179 million (20 billion yen) in five years. More sublicensees are expected to be added, Itochu said, and the final goal is to include home furnishings as well as apparel and accessories.
Initial products include casual apparel and jeans, sublicensed to J. Osawa & Co.; intimate apparel to Ogihara & Co.; hosiery to Asahi Textile Co.; umbrellas, scarves and mufflers to Hayashimichi Co.; neckties to Tanaka Eiko-Do Co.; gloves to Yorks Co.; hats and caps to Urushibara Co.; belts and men’s leather goods to Yamani Inc.; women’s bags to Kuipo Co.; handkerchiefs to T. Kawabe & Co.; sport bags to Takaishi Co., and stationery to Imaizumi Co.
Products will be sold through department and stores, specialty stores and freestanding shops, according to Itochu.