Fila Korea Ltd. has signed a number of licensing partnership deals with companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to expand its overseas sales. The firms include JD Sports Fashion in the U.K./Ireland, Dosenbach AG in Switzerland, Russia’s Sportmaster Ltd. and Cravatex Ltd. in the Middle East and Africa.
The partnership deals came after Fila Korea acquired Integrix Sports Group Ltd. earlier this year, which holds the master license in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as part of its global expansion.
JD Sports Fashion Plc. will be given the right to produce and sell Fila-branded products in Britain and Ireland, said Fila Korea. JD Sports Fashion will start sales of the products in fall and winter at its 500 shops.
Swiss Dosenbach AG will have control over the Fila brand across the rest of the Europe, while Russian retailer Sportmaster Ltd. will enjoy the exclusive right in its home country.
Cravatex Ltd. will be permitted to manufacture and sell Fila products in the Middle East (excluding Israel), North Africa and India.
After re-acquiring the master license, Fila Korea said it embarked on a restructuring mission to transform the strategy and structure of the business in order to resolve the distribution channel confusion that has characterized the Fila brand in EMEA for the past few years. The ultimate goal of the new licensing structure is to elevate the brand and streamline the flow and logistics of the business in the region. The new strategy in EMEA is centered on a direct to retail structure as well as developing a complementary wholesale business which will include distributors and sub-licensees. The long term license agreements include the rights to manufacture and sell women’s, men’s and children’s apparel, footwear and accessories.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to combine our Fila brand with the successful, well-established infrastructure of our new licensee partners in the EMEA region,” said Gene Yoon, Chairman of Fila Korea Ltd, the parent company of Fila Luxembourg. “Each partner has scale, performance market positioning and the ability to deliver growth in both profitability and market share, quarter after quarter. I cannot think of better broad based partners for our brand in these markets. As we celebrate the centennial of the Fila brand, we look forward to working with each partner to re-establish Fila as a premier sport lifestyle brand in the influential EMEA region.”
In the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Channel Islands, Filaï¿½ branded products will be available in JDâ€s stores and on www.jdsports.co.uk in Fall 2011, as well as in other fascias of the JD Group and selected wholesale channels. JD has also been given the right to sell Fila branded products in its retail stores across Europe.
“The Fila brand is one of the most recognizable names in sportswear and athletic footwear and has long been known as an authentic sport brand. We are excited to share in the heritage of this storied brand through this licensing arrangement,” said Peter Cowgill, Chairman of JD Sports. “This partnership allows us to advance our strategy of bringing high-quality, sport fashion brands to our consumers.”
In Europe, the Dosenbach/Ochsner license encompasses Fila branded products and will be sold in Ochsner Sports/Dosenbach and its affiliate retail stores, while also actively pursuing a complementary wholesale business with strategic distribution and sub-license partners in Europe. SportMaster will pursue a similar “own store strategy” in Russia while Cravatex will focus on wholesale and retail distribution in its territory.
As part of the restructuring process, most of the previous Fila operations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy are being discontinued as the operations transition to the new licensees. Moving forward, a Commercial Director, based in Italy, will be appointed to coordinate Fila activities in EMEA with additional administrative and product functions based in Europe.
2011 marks the centennial of the Fila brand which was established in Biella, Italy in 1911 by the Fila brothers.