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Japan's Descente targeting 100 sportswear stores in China

The Le Coq Sportif brand is offered at this shop operated by Descente in China.

OSAKA -- Sportswear maker Descente plans to open 100 retail stores in China under its own name during the three years to March 2019.

Unlike the roughly 500 boutique stores with swimwear and golf goods that a foreign subsidiary of Descente already runs in China, these new stores will be large shops under the Descente moniker offering an array of products. The idea is to open both roadside stores and stores in places like shopping malls, stocked with both functional gear for sports such as golf, skiing, running and triathlons, and fashionable sportswear for everyday use.

To facilitate this, Descente has set up a joint venture with Chinese sportswear giant Anta Sports Products. Tentatively named Descente China, the joint venture has been capitalized at 250 million yuan ($38 million), with 60% held by a subsidiary of Anta, 30% by Descente, and 10% by the Chinese subsidiary of Japanese trading house Itochu.

Descente and Anta will share marketing channels and collaborate in the search for store locations.

Beginning in late August, Descente will open four or five retails stores in northeastern China, including Heilongjiang Province, which is famous for an annual ice and snow sculpture festival.

Later, Descente will also open stores in major urban areas like Beijing, Shanghai, Dalian and Chongqing.

China's sportswear market is highly competitive, and there is the added challenge of counterfeit products. By teaming with a local sportswear maker, Descente believes it will have an easier time fending off fakes, explained company President Masatoshi Ishimoto.

The company aims to double Chinese sales from the fiscal 2015 figure to about 22 billion yen ($207 million).

Descente is sprinting to broaden its presence in overseas markets. In addition to this expansion in China, the company is busy opening golf apparel stores in South Korea.

(Nikkei)

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