The dispute between Asics America and its former retail partner heated up on Wednesday.
James Turken, an attorney with Eisner Jaffe in Los Angeles, filed a civil suit on behalf of Windsor Financial Group LLC, which had a 20-year master retail agreement with Asics to operate its stores in the U.S. That agreement was terminated by Asics in June when the activewear brand cited “material breaches of the agreement by Windsor” as the reason for ending the deal.
Windsor subsequently closed the 13 Asics stores it had opened in the U.S., including a large Times Square flagship, which still sits vacant with the Asics signage on the empty storefront.
Windsor filed for bankruptcy in mid-January in New York and subsequently filed a plan of liquidation later that month.
In Wednesday’s suit, Windsor charged that Asics did not fulfill its promise to help the company develop the brand in the U.S. market and instead, “stymied Windsor at every turn,” according to the court papers. Windsor had negotiated and obtained leases for the stores, including the 5,000-square-foot flagship in Times Square, but Asics failed to assist with an “innovative and aggressive marketing push” or to provide new product, including apparel as promised, the papers said.
Wednesday’s suit said Windsor had invested in excess of $27 million in the “leasing, capital improvement and operation” of the 13 stores when Asics wrongly terminated its master license. The suit said as a result, Windsor “has been damaged in amounts approaching $100 million.”
In October, Windsor investors Mickey Segal and Size It also filed suit in California against Asics America and its Japanese parent company, Asics Corp., charging fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of an oral agreement.
Turken told WWD he had been retained as a special bankruptcy attorney to attempt to recover funds for the Windsor creditors.
Asics did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.