Wolverine World Wide, Inc. announced the company has entered into a joint venture agreement with Xtep International Holdings Limited, a leading Chinese sportswear retailer, to develop, market and distribute Merrell and Saucony products in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
This is an important element of Wolverine’s near-term plan to make strategic investments in key international markets. The joint venture is expected to begin operating in the back half of 2019.
Xtep is a vertical player in the fast-growing sportswear market, with over 6,200 stores in 31 provinces and municipalities across China, including a vastt network of distributors and shopping mall operators. The joint venture plans to open new stores under the Merrell and Saucony banners, with the majority slated for shopping malls in China’s larger cities, coupled with an increasing presence for these brands in Hong Kong and Macau.
“Wolverine is extremely pleased to partner with Xtep to accelerate the growth of two of our best-known global brands – Saucony and Merrell – in the critical markets of mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau,” said Blake W. Krueger, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Wolverine. “We have seen incredible sportswear growth in these markets, and our brands are now poised to excel as we engage Xtep’s significant retail presence and regional expertise to tap into the booming running and outdoor sectors.”
”Ding Shui Po, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Xtep, commented, “Over the years, Xtep has been committed to providing fashionable, high-performance sports products to consumers in pursuit of our mission to become a multi-brand portfolio group capable of satisfying different customers’ needs. We are delighted to have Wolverine, a global company with a portfolio of premium brands, as our partner. We look forward to working shoulder-to-shoulder with them to seize the numerous business opportunities we see in these key Asian markets. Leveraging the combined resources and strengths of both Xtep and Wolverine, we expect the joint venture will reach a large group of sophisticated customers.”