Russell Corporation (NYSE: RML) has announced the debut of the Russell Athletic brand in the Japanese sporting goods market. Partners in this project are Marubeni Corporation, Imoto Company, Ltd. and Xebio Company, Ltd. Marubeni is one of Japan's largest trading firms with its own production network. Imoto is a sporting goods wholesaler and Zebio is a sporting goods retailer.
"Our new partnership is designed to complement existing sales of our activewear in the Japanese market while increasing our overall branded business," said Dan Peterson, chief operating officer for Russell International. "It is an integral part of a general campaign to develop the global market for sports uniforms and on-field sportswear, an area that is big business for us in the United States."
Russell Athletic activewear products are already in the Japanese casual market through jeans manufacturer Edwin and the company's Discus brand is available at the Mac House casual apparel retail chain. Major League Baseball products and the JERZEES brand activewear are also sold independently through Russell Japan.
The product being offered through the new partnership will include a "Performance" line of sports uniforms that will begin with baseball and gradually expand. There will also be product in the "Workout Essentials" category that includes athletic wear other than uniforms and the "Originals," the established line of Russell Athletic sweatshirts and sweatpants. The first collection will be in Japanese stores in December 2002.
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