The Ladies Professional Golf Association, known as LPGA, has opened its first retail store in South Korea.
The store, LPGA Gallery, was opened in partnership with its licensed partner, MK Trend, and is part of the group’s ambitious growth plan for Korea and the Asia-Pacific.
Under the terms of the deal, MK Trend plans to open more than a dozen stores in and around Seoul by September 2016, and increase that number to around 100 stores by 2018. In two years, the LPGA Gallery will also expand into China.
In addition to the store, MK Trend has also created a collection under the LPGA banner with more than 300 styles of men’s and women’s apparel and accessories for fall. The collection features a youthful design infused with performance attributes.
South Korea was selected as the launching market for the new apparel, given its fashion-forward population and the high popularity of golf and the LPGA, the group said. The LPGA opened an Asia office in Seoul in 2014 and has held an official LPGA tournament, the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship, in that country for more than a decade.
In 2018, the UL International Crown will also be held in South Korea, marking the first time the tournament will be held outside the U.S. Nine of the top 20 players in the Rolex Rankings are from South Korea.
MK Trend also holds licenses for the National Basketball Association, or NBA, a deal it has had since 2011. In that time, MK Trend has opened 102 NBA stores in South Korea.
Jon Podany, chief commercial officer for the LPGA, said: “We believe we have the right partner in MK Trend and with the LPGA’s popularity in Korea, the timing is right to make a major statement.”
Anne McCarthy, LPGA’s director of licensing and merchandising, added, “The LPGA’s partnership with MK Trend underscores our commitment to the South Korean market. We hope this apparel line enhances the fan experience and helps to grow the game of golf in Korea and the Asia-Pacific region.”
Michael Kim, MK Trend’s chief executive officer, said he is “confident that we can create one of the most successful golf wear brands in Asia. We fully expect to have the same type of success with the LPGA as we’ve had with the NBA. We look forward to a successful retail partnership with the LPGA.”