Wolverine Worldwide partners with Chinese company
Wolverine Worldwide has signed a joint venture agreement with a Chinese sportswear company to help it make inroads in Asia.
The Rockford-based maker of footwear and apparel has formed the partnership with Quanzhou, China-based Xtep International Holdings Ltd. to develop, market and distribute its Merrell and Saucony brand products in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, according to Wolverine today.
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.
The joint venture is expected to begin operating in the latter half of 2019.
Wolverine said the agreement is an important element of its near-term plan to make “strategic investments in key international markets.”
“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 Krueger, chair, CEO and president, Wolverine Worldwide.
“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, chair and CEO of Xtep, said the partnership fits with his company’s long-term goal to become “a multi-brand portfolio group.”
“We are delighted to have Wolverine, a global company with a portfolio of premium brands, as our partner,” he said.
“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.”
Founded in 1883, Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE: WWW) makes footwear and apparel for a variety of markets: casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children’s and uniform.
In addition to its own portfolio of 10 brands — Bates, Chaco, Hush Puppies, HYTEST, Keds, Merrell, Saucony, Sperry, Stride Rite and Wolverine — the company is also the global footwear licensee of the brands Cat and Harley-Davidson.
The company reported revenue of about $2.2 billion in 2018.
Xtep International Holdings Ltd.
Founded in 1999, Xtep International Holdings Limited is a "professional sports brand" that manages brands and designs, manufactures, markets and sells sports products, including footwear, apparel and accessories.
The company has a distribution network of more than 6,200 stores covering 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities across the People’s Republic of China.