Retail in Asia


L.L. Bean inks licensing agreement in Japan

U.S. outdoor lifestyle brand L.L. Bean announced this week it has entered into a new licensing agreement with Itochu Corporation, for the distribution of its apparel and footwear in Japan.

The Tokyo-based Itochu has acquired the master license rights for the Maine-based L.L. Bean brand in the Japanese market, as well as wholesale sales rights for imported products.

As part of the agreement, Itochu said it has tapped Minoya Co for L.L. Bean’s product development and wholesale sales of licensed apparel products in Japan and recruited Sunriver Co for wholesale sales of imported products for L.L. Bean in Japan.

​Itochu said the agreement utilises the experience and knowledge of its own brand business and taps Minoya’s strong know-how in product development and sales, and Sunriver’s wide-ranging wholesale network in Japan.

L.L. Bean International’s Japan branch will continue to operate the catalogue and e-commerce business and directly-managed stores, according to the company.

“​Targeting outdoor enthusiasts, we will develop sales channels such as select shops, outdoor specialty stores, and sports retailers. In the future, in addition to apparel, we will also develop new licensing categories,” said Itochu, in a press release.

“​We aim to create a new business with a retail sales revenue base of 5 billion yen in five years.”

Founded in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean, L.L. Bean produces lifestyle clothing and outdoor recreation equipment. The American brand currently operates 90 retail stores globally, including 28 directly managed stores in Japan.