Known for its brightly colored tracksuits that made their claim to fame in the early 2000s thanks to Paris Hilton and her ilk, Californian brand Juicy Couture is pivoting sharply toward the Asia market as its prospects in the United States dry up. New York-based brand licensing company Authentic Brands Group (ABG) announced in a press release today that it entered in a collaboration with Asia-based brand management and distribution company ImagineX to sell Juicy Couture products in Asia.
ImagineX, part of the fashion retail company Lane Crawford Joyce Group, was first licensed to distribute Juicy Couture products in Asia in 2006. It now enters a minimum 10-year partnership with ABG to help drive market expansion and category development of Juicy Couture in China. In the press release, ABG says that it plans to break Juicy Couture away from the reliance on department stores for sales, and aided by ImagineX, will open over 40 freestanding stores in China and focus on its omni-channel marketing. There are also plans for Juicy Couture to build on the momentum it has with its Black Label Collection in Asia, and release a new line of footwear by designer Steve Madden in 2015.
“ImagineX has done a fantastic job of building the Juicy brand in Greater China, not only in terms of their focus on retail development but also their contribution to the design, creative and business development teams which has taken Juicy to where it is today in the Asia market,” says Jamie Salter, CEO and chairman of ABG, in the press release. “We are confident that our partnership will capture new opportunities and reach even more Juicy customers in Asia, where Juicy Couture continues to flourish.”
ABG, known for handling the estates of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, acquired Juicy Couture for $195 million from parent company Fifth and Pacific in an all-cash transaction last October. It beat out many interested investors, including Chinese venture capital firm IDG Capital Partners. Juicy Couture’s plummeting sales in the United States following the global recession caused and Fifth and Pacific to sell off the brand and focus on their other more profitable licenses instead, such as Kate Spade. Reuters reported in January last year that as Fifth and Pacific started paring down Juicy Couture stores in the United States, it still enjoyed a strong presence in Asia.
When Juicy Couture changed hands, ABG gave the label a year to clear out its following spring and summer product lines before selling off the brand’s inventory. Huffington Post reported last month that Juicy Couture will shutter all of its brick-and-mortar stores in the United States—over 100 boutiques and outlets—while keeping its more-than-60 international locations open. Just as it is revamping Juicy Couture for its Asia breakthrough, ABG told Huffington Post that it will also relaunch the brand in the United States next spring for a comeback.