NEW YORK — Lotto Sports Italia is taking a chance on the U.S. market.
The Montebelluna, Italy-based activewear firm has partnered with DCS Group, a Los Angeles investment and strategy company, to launch Lotto North America.
The new company is operated as a separate entity and will develop a lifestyle division for a brand best known for its soccer and tennis offerings.
“We have the Italian heritage and the brand is really strong in Europe,” said David Schulte, a managing partner of DCS who will serve as chief executive officer of Lotto North America. “We think there is a lot of opportunity for Lotto in the U.S.”
The first collection of men’s apparel and footwear will hit stores for late fall and holiday selling, and women’s products are slated to launch in spring 2006, Schulte said. The company has hired Come Chantrel as creative director to oversee the brand’s direction in the U.S. Chantrel was most recently vice president of marketing for brands at The Firm, a talent and music management company.
Chantrel said the line will be rooted in sport, but will have sophisticated styling and fabrics, including cashmere. Wholesale prices will range from about $45 to $120.
Lotto was founded in 1973 and has been selling its performance apparel and footwear in the U.S., but not a full range of lifestyle apparel. Schulte said the company is targeting distribution in high-end specialty and department stores.
The parent Lotto company has annual sales of about 256 million euros, or $328 million, and Schulte said his goal is to reach $100 million in sales in five years in the U.S.
The company will have offices and showroom space on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and in Manhattan, noted Schulte.
Lotto joins other European sports-oriented performance and lifestyle labels that have sought to expand in the U.S. in recent years, including Hummel, Kappa and Lacoste. Fila is being relaunched with a return to its Italian heritage, and Puma has become a market leader in moving from sport performance to fashion lifestyle.